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" How much more agreeable it is to sit in the midst of old furniture 
like MinotVs clock, and secretary and looking-glass, which have come 
doun from other generations, than amid that -which uas just brought 
from the cabinet-maker' s, smelling of varnish, like a coffin ! To sit 
under the face of an old clock that has been ticking one hundred and 
fifty rears — there is something mortal, not to say immortal, about 
it ; a clock that begun to tick when Massachusetts was a province." 

H. D. Thoreau, " Autumn." 



/4/i rights reserved 




Copyright, 1902, 

Set up and electrotyped November, 1902. 

Norwood Press . f^Si^ 

J. S. Gushing & Co. — Berwick & Umitb 
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A. 

XJ^o mt Visiter 







Introduction ^ 

Chests, Chests of Drawers, Dressing-tables . . lo 

Bureaus and Washstands 4° 







Cupboards and Sideboards 78 



Chairs ^39 

Settles, Settees, and Sofas 192 


viii Contents 



Musical Instruments 248 

Fires and Lights . 287 

Clocks 314 

Looking-glasses 336 

Index of Owners of Furniture illustrated . . 363 
Index . 367 

i^ETURN ro^ 



List of Illustrations 


Lacquered Desk with Cabinet Top 


Looliing-glass, i8 10-1825 

1. Oak Chest, about 1650 .... 

2. Olive-wood Chest, 1630-1650 . 

3. Panelled Chest with One Drawer, about 1660 

4. Oak Chest with Two Drawers, about 1675 

5. Panelled Chest with Two Drawers, about 1675 

6. Carved Chest with Three Drawers, about 1700 

7. Panelled Chest upon Frame, 1670- 1700 . 

8. Panelled Chest upon Frame, 1670-1700 . 

9. Panelled Chest of- Drawers, about 1680 . 

10. Handles . ...... 

11. Six-legged High Chest of Drawers, 1705-1715 

12. Walnut Dressing-table, about 1700 . 

13. Cabriole-legged High Chest of Drawers with China Steps, 

about 1720 . ...... 

14. Inlaid Walnut High Chest of Drawers, 1733 . 

15. Inlaid Walnut High Chest of Drawers, about 1760 

16. "Low-boy"' and •• High-boy" of Walnut, about 1740 

17. Walnut Double Chest, about 1760 . 

18. Double Chest, 1760-1770 

19. Block-front Dressing-table, about 1750 

20. Dressing-table, about 1760 

21. High Chest of Drawers, about 1765 . 

22. Dressing-table and Looking-glass, about 1770 

23. Walnut Dressing-table, about 1770 . 
Looking-glass, 1810-1825 

24. Block-front Bureau, about 1770 

25. Block -front Bureau, about 1770 

26. Kettle-shaped Bureau, about 1770 . 

27. Serpentine-front Bureau, about 1770 











List of Illustrations 


28. Serpentine-front Bureau, about 1785 

29. Swell-front Inlaid Bureau, about 1795 

30. Handles 

31. Dressing-glass, about 1760 

32. Bureau and Dressing-glass, 1795 

33. Bureau and Dressing-glass, about 18 10 

34. Bureau and Miniature Bureau, about 18 10 

35. Case of Drawers with Closet, 1810 

36. Bureau, about 181 5 . 

37. Bureau, 18 15-1820 . 

38. Corner Washstand. 1790 . 

39. Towel-rack and Washstand, 1790- 1800 

40. Washstand, 1815-1830 

41. Night Table, 1785 . 
Looking-glass, about 1770 

42. Wicker Cradle, 1620 

43. Oak Cradle, 1680 

44. Bedstead and Commode, 1750 

45. Field Bedstead, 1 760-1 770 

46. Claw-and-ball Foot Bedstead, 1774 

47. Bedstead, 1789 

48. Bedstead, 1 795-1 800 

49. Bedstead, 1800-1810 

50. Bedstead, 1800-1810 

51. Bedstead, 1800-18 10 

52. Bedstead, 1800-1810 

53. Low-post Bedstead, about 1825 

54. Low Bedstead, about 1830 
Looking-glass, 1 770-1 780 

55. Oak Press Cupboard, 1640 

56. Press Cupboard, about 1650 

57. Carved Press Cupboard, 1680-1690 

58. Corner " Beaufatt," 1740-1750 . 

59. Kas, 1700 .... 

60. Chippendale Side-table, about 1755 

61. Shearer Sideboard and Knife-box, 1792 

62. Urn-shaped Knife-box, 1790 . 

63. Hepplewhite Sideboard with Knife-boxes 

64. Hepplewhite Serpentine-front Sideboard, 


List of Illustrations 


Hcpplewhite Sideboard, about 1795 

Sheraton Side-tal)le, 1795 

Sheraton Sideboard with Knife-box, 1795 

Sheraton Sideboard, about 1800 

Cellarets, 1790 

Sideboard, 18 10-1820 

Looking-glass, about 1760 

Desk-boxes, 1654 . 

Desk-box, 1650 

Desk, 1 7 10-1720 . 

Cabriole-legged Desk, 1 720-1 730 

Cabriole-legged Desk, 1760 

Desk, 1760 

Desk, about 1770 . 

Block-front Desk, Cabinet Top, about 1770 

Block-front Desk, about 1770 

Desk with Cabinet Top, about 1770 

Block-front Desk, about 1770 

Block-front Writing-table, 1 760-1 770 

Serpentine-front Desk, Cabinet Top, 1770 

Serpentine or Bow-front Desk, about 1770 

Bill of Lading, 1716 

Bookcase and Desk, about 1765 

Maple Desk, about 1795 

Desk with Cabinet Top, 1790 

Sheraton Desk, 1795 

Tambour Secretary, about 1800 

Sheraton Desk, 1800 

Sheraton Desk, about 1810 . 

Desk, about 1820 .... 

Looking-glass, 1 720-1 740 

Turned Chair, Sixteenth Century . 

Turned High-chair, Sixteenth Century 

Turned Chair, about 1600 

Turned Chair, about 1600 

Wainscot Chair, about 1600 

Wainscot Chair, about 1600 

Leather Chair, about 1660 

Chair originally covered with Turkey Work, about 





























List of Illustrations 







■ 36. 

Flemish Chair, about 1690 

Flemish Chair, about 1690 

Cane Chair, 1680 -1690 .... 

Cane High-chair and Arm-chair. 1680-1690 

Cane Chair, 1 680-1 690 .... 

Cane Chair, 1 690-1 700 .... 

Queen Anne Chair, 1710-1 720 

Banister-back Chair, 17 10-1720 

Banister-back Chair, 1710-1720 

Banister-back Chair, 1710-1740 

Roundabout Chair, about 1740 

Slat-back Chairs, 1700-1750 . 

Five-slat Chair, about 1750 

Windsor Chairs, 1 750-1 775 . 

Comb-back Windsor Rocking-chair. 1 750-1 775 

High-back Windsor Arm-chair and Child's Chair, 


Windsor Writing-chair, 1 750-1 775 

Windsor Rocking-chairs, 1820- 1830 

Dutch Chair, 17 10-1720 

Dutch Chair, about 1740 

Dutch Chair, about 1740 

Dutch Chair, 1 740-1 750 

Dutch Chair, 1740-1750 

Dutch Cliairs, 1 750-1 760 

Dutch Roundabout Chair. 1740 

Easy-chair with Dutch Legs. 1750 

Claw-and-ball-foot Easy-chair. 1750 

Chippendale Chair 

Chippendale Chair 

Chippendale Chair 

Chippendale Chair 

Chippendale Chair 

Chippendale Chairs 

Chippendale Chair 

Chippendale Chair 

Extension-top Roundabout Chair 

Chippendale Chair 

Chippendale Chair 


List of Illustrations 













Chippendale Cliair 

Chippendale Chair 

Chippendale Chair in " Chinese Taste 

Chippendale Chair 

Chippendale Chair 

Hepplewhite Chairs 

Hepplewhite Chair 

Hepplewhite Chair 

Hepplewhite Chair 

Hepplewhite Chair 

Hepplewhite Chair 

Sheraton Chair 

Sheraton Chairs 

Sheraton Chair 

Sheraton Chair 

Sheraton Chair 

Sheraton Chair 

Sheraton Chair 

Painted Sheraton Chair, 18 10-18 15 

Late Mahogany Chairs, 1 830-1 845 

Looking-glass, 1 770-1 780 

Pine Settle, Eighteenth Century 

Oak Settle. 1708 . 

Settle covered with Turkey Work, 1670 

Flemish Couch, 1 680-1 690 

Dutch Couch, 1 720-1 730 

Chippendale Couch, 1760- 1770 

Chippendale Sofa, 1765- 1770 

Chippendale Double Chair. 1760 

Chippendale Double Chair and Chair in 

1760-1765 ..... 
Chippendale Double Chair, 1 750-1 750 
Sheraton Settee, 1 790-1 795 
Sheraton Sofa, 1 790-1 800 
Sheraton Sofa, about 1800 
Sheraton Settee, about 1805 
Sheraton Sofa, 1800-1805 
Sofa in Adam Style. 1 800-1 810 
Sofa, 1S15-1820 


Chinese Taste,* 







List of Illustrations 

177. Sofa, about 1820 .... 

178. Cornucopia Sofa, about 1820 . 

179. Sofa and Miniature Sofa, about 1820 

180. Sofa and Chair, about 1 840 . 

181. Rosewood Sofa, 1 844-1 848 . 
Looking-glass, 1 750-1780 

182. Chair Table, Eighteenth Century . 

183. Oak Table, 1 650- 1 675 . 

184. Slate-top Table, 1 670-1 680 . . 

185. ''Butterfly Table," about 1700 

186. "Hundred-legged" Table, 1675-1700 

187. " Hundred-legged " Table, 1680-1700 

188. " Hundred-legged " Table, 1680- 1700 

189. Dutch Table, 1720-1740 

190. Dutch Card-table. 1 730-1 740 . 

191. Claw-and-ball-foot Table, about 1750 

192. Dutch Stand, about 1740 

193. " Pie-crust " Table, 1750 

194. "Dish-top" Table, 1750 

195. Tea-tables, 1 750-1 760 . 

196. Table and Easy-chair, 1 760-1 770 . 

197. Stands, 1 760-1 770 

198. Tea-table, about 1770 

199. Chippendale Card-table, about 1765 

200. Chippendale Card-table, about 1765 

201. Pembroke Table, 1 760-1 770 . 

202. Hepplewhite Card-table with Tea-tray, 1785- 

203. Hepplewhite Card-tables, 1 785-1 795 

204. Sheraton Card-table, 1800 

205. Sheraton Card-table, 1800-1810 

206. Sheraton "What-not," 1800-1810 . 

207. Sheraton Dining-table and Chair, about 1810 

208. Sheraton Work-table, about 1800 . 

209. Sheraton Work-table, 1810-1815 . 

210. Maple and Mahogany Work-tables, 1810-182 

211. Pillar-and-claw Dining-table, about 1800 

212. Phyfe Card-table, 1810-1820 . 

213. Phyfe Card-table, 1810-1820 . 

214. Pier-table, 1820-1830 .... 


List of Illustrations 


215. Work-table. 18 10-1820 .... 
Looking-glass, 1 760-1 770 

216. Stephen Keene Spinet, about 1690 

217. Thomas Hitchcock Spinet, about 1690 . 

218. Broadwood Harpsichord, 1789 
2ig. Clavichord. 1745 

220. dementi Piano, 1805 .... 

221. Astor Piano, 1790-1800 

222. Clementi Piano, about 1820 . 

223. Combination Pia&o, Desk, and Toilet-table, about 

224. Piano, about 1830 ..... 

225. Peter Erben Piano, 1826-1827 

226. Piano-stool, 1 820-1 830 .... 

227. Piano, 1826 

228. Piano-stools, 1 825-1 830 .... 

229. Table Piano, about 1835 

230. Piano, 1830 ...... 

231. Music-stand, about 1835 

232. Music-stand, about 1835 

233. Dulcimer, 1820-1830 .... 

234. Harmonica or Musical Glasses, about 1820 

235. Harp-shaped Piano, about 1800 

236. Cottage Piano, or Upright. 1800-18 10 . 

237. Chickering Upright Piano, 1830 

238. Piano, about 1840 

239. Hawkey Square Piano, about 1845 

240. Harp, 1 780-1 790 

241. Fireplace, 1650 ..... 
Looking-glass, 1 785-1 795 

242. Andirons, Eighteenth Century 

243. Andirons, Eighteenth Century 

244. '* Hessian " Andirons, 1776 

245. Fireplace, 1770-1775 .... 

246. Steeple-topped Andirons and Fender, 1 775-1 790 

247. Mantel at Mount Vernon. 1760-1770 

248. Mantel with Hob-grate, 1776 

249. Franklin Stove, 1745-1760 

250. Iron Fire-frame. 1 775-1 800 . 

251. Betty Lamps, Seventeenth Century 






List of Illustrations 

252. Candle-stands, First Half of Eighteenth Century 

253. Mantel with Candle Shade, 1 775-1800 

254. Candlesticks, 1 775-1 800 

255. Crystal Chandelier, about 1760 

256. Silver Lamp from Mount Vernon, 1770- 1800 

257. Embroidered Screen, 1780 

258. Candle-stand and Screen, 1 750-1 775 

259. Chippendale Candle-stand, 1 760-1 770 

260. Bronze Mantel Lamps, 181 5-1 840 . 

261. Brass Gilt Candelabra, 1 820-1 840 . 

262. Hall Lantern, 1775-1800 
Looking-glass, First Quarter of the Eighteenth Century 

263. Lantern or Bird-cage Clock, First Half of Seventeenth 

Century ..... 

264. Lantern Clock, about 1680 

265 . Friesland Clock, Seventeenth Century 

266. Bracket Clocks, 1 780-1 800 

267. Walnut Case and Lacquered Case Clocks, about 1738 

268. Tall Clock, about 1770 .... 

269. Miniature Clock and Tall Clock, about 1800 

270. Tall Clock, 1 800-1 810 .... 

271. Wall Clocks, 1800-1825 

272. Willard Clock, 1784 .... 

273. Willard Clocks, 1800-18 15 

274. " Banjo" Clock, 1 802-1 820 

275. Lyre-shaped Clock, 1810-1820 

276. Eli Terry Shelf Clocks, 1824 . 

277. French Clock, about 1800 
Looking-glass, First Quarter of the Eighteenth Century 

278. Looking-glass, 1690 

279. Looking-glass, about 1730 

280. Pier Glass in "Chinese Taste," 1760 

281. Looking-glass, about 1760 

282. Looking-glass, 1 770-1 780 

283. Looking-glass, 1 725-1 750 

284. Looking-glass, 1 770-1 780 

285. Looking-glasses, 1750-1790 . 

286. Enamelled Mirror Knobs, 1770-1790 

287. Girandole, 1 770-1 780 . 

List of Illustrations 


288. Hepplewhite Looking-glass, 1790 

289. Mantel Glass, 1783 

290. Looking-glass, 1 790-1 800 

291. " Bilboa Glass," 1770-1780 

292. Mantel Glass, 1800-1810 

293. Cheval Glass, 1 830-1 840 

294. Looking-glass. 1810-1825 

295. Looking-glass, 18 10-182 5 





Furniture of the Olden Time 


rHE furniture of the American colonies was 
at first of English manufacture, but before 
long cabinet-makers and joiners plied their 
trade in New England, and much of the 
furniture now found there was made by the colonists. 
In New Amsterdam, naturally, a different style pre- 
vailed, and the furniture was Dutch. As time went 
on and the first hardships were surmounted, money 
became more plentiful, until by the last half of the 
seventeenth century much fine furniture was imported 
from England and Holland, and from that time fash- 
ions in America were but a few months behind those 
in England. 

In the earliest colonial times the houses were but 
sparsely furnished, although Dr. Holmes writes of 
leaving — 

"The Dutchman's shore, 
With those that in the MayJIoa/er came, a hundred souls or more. 
Along with all the furniture to fill their new abodes. 
To judge by what is still on hand, at least a hundred loads." 

If one were to accept as authentic all the legends 
told of various pieces, — chairs, tables, desks, spinets, 
and even pianos, — Dr. Holmes's estimate would be 
too moderate. 

2 Furniture of the Olden Time 

The first seats in general use were forms or 
benches, not more than one or two chairs belonging 
to each household. The first tables were long 
boards placed upon trestles. Chests were found 
in almost every house, and bedsteads, of course, 
were a necessity. After the first chairs, heavy and 
plain or turned, with strong braces or stretchers 
between the legs, came the leather-covered chairs 
of Dutch origin, sometimes called Cromwell chairs, 
followed by the Flemish cane chairs and couches. 
This takes us to the end of the seventeenth century. 
During that period tables with turned legs fastened 
to the top had replaced the earliest " table borde " 
upon trestles, and the well-known "hundred legged" 
or " forty legged" table had come into use. 

Cupboards during the seventeenth century were 
made of oak ornamented in designs similar to those 
upon oak chests. Sideboards with drawers were not 
used in this country until much later, although 
there is one of an early period in the South Ken- 
sington Museum, made of oak, with turned legs, 
and with drawers beneath the top. 

Desks were in use from the middle of the seven- 
teenth century, made first of oak and later of cherry 
and walnut. Looking-glasses were owned by the 
wealthy, and clocks appear in inventories of the 
latter part of the century. Virginals were mentioned 
during the seventeenth century, and spinets were 
not uncommon in the century following. 

With the beginning of the eighteenth century 
came the strong influence of Dutch fashions, and 
chairs and tables were made with the Dutch cabriole 

Introduction 3 

or bandy leg, sometimes with the shell upon the 
knee, and later with the claw-and-ball foot. Dutch 
high chests with turned legs had been in use before 
this, and the high chest with bandy legs like the 
chairs and tables soon became a common piece of 
furniture. With other Dutch fashions came that of 
lacquering furniture with Chinese designs, and tables, 
scrutoirs or desks, looking-glass frames, stands, and 
high chests were ornamented in this manner. 

The wood chiefly used in furniture was oak, until 
about 1675, when American black walnut came into 
use, and chests of drawers, tables, and chairs were 
made of it ; it was the wood oftenest employed in 
veneer at that time. 

Sheraton wrote in 1 803 : " There are three species 
of walnut tree, the English walnut, and the white 
and black Virginia. Hickory is reckoned to class 
with the white Virginia walnut. The black Vir- 
ginia was much in use for cabinet work about forty 
or fifty years since in England, but is now quite laid 
by since the introduction of mahogany." 

Mahogany was discovered by Sir Walter Raleigh 
in 1595. The first mention of its use in this 
country is in 1708. Mr. G. T. Robinson, in the 
London Art Journal oi 1881, says that its first use 
in England was in 1720, when some planks of it 
were brought to Dr. Gibbon by a West India 
captain. The wood was pronounced too hard, and 
it was not until Mrs. Gibbon wanted a candle-box 
that any use was made of the planks, and then only 
because the obstinate doctor insisted upon it. When 
the candle-box was finished, a bureau [i.e. desk) was 

4 Furniture of the Olden Time 

made of the wood, which was greatly admired, and 
as Mr, Robinson says, " Dr. Gibbon's obstinacy and 
Mrs. Gibbon's candle-box revolutionized English 
household furniture ; for the system of construction 
and character of design were both altered by its in- 
troduction." It is probable that furniture had been 
made in England of mahogany previous to 1720, 
but that may be the date when it became fashion- 

The best mahogany came from Santiago, Mexi- 
can mahogany being soft, and Honduras mahogany 

The earliest English illustrated book which in- 
cluded designs for furniture was published by 
William Jones in 1739. Chippendale's first book 
of designs was issued in 1754. He was followed 
by I nee and May hew, whose book was undated; 
Thomas Johnson — 1758; Sir William Chambers 

— 1760; Society of Upholsterers — about 1760; 
Matthias Lock — 1765; Robert Manwaring — 
1766; Matthias Darly — 1773; Robert and 
J. Adam — 1773; Thomas Shearer (in "The 
Cabinet-makers' London Book of Prices ") — 1788 ; 
A. Hepplewhite & Co. — 1789 ; Thomas Sheraton 

— 1791-1793 and 1803. 

Sir William Chambers in his early youth made a 
voyage to China, and it is to his influence that we 
can attribute much of the rage for Chinese furniture 
and decoration which was in force about 1760 to 1770. 

Thomas Chippendale lived and had his shop in 
St. Martin's Lane, London. Beyond that we know 
but little of his life. His book, " The Gentleman's 

Introduction 5 

and Cabinet- Maker's Director," was published in 
1754, at a cost of jC3-i3-6 per copy. The second 
edition followed in 1759, and the third in 1762. It 
contains one hundred and sixty copper plates, the 
first twenty pages of which are taken up with designs 
for chairs, and it is largely as a chair-maker that 
Chippendale's name has become famous. His fur- 
niture combines French, Gothic, Dutch, and Chinese 
styles, but so great was his genius that the effect is 
thoroughly harmonious, while he exercised the great- 
est care in the construction of his furniture — espe- 
cially chairs. He was beyond everything a carver, 
and his designs show a wealth of delicate carving. 
He used no inlay or painting, as others had done 
before him, and as others did after him, and only 
occasionally did he employ gilding, lacquer, or brass 

Robert and James Adam were architects, trained 
in the classics. Their furniture was distinctly clas- 
sical, and was designed for rooms in the Greek or 
Roman style. Noted painters assisted them in 
decorating the rooms and the furniture, and Per- 
golesi, Angelica Kaufmann, and Cipriani did not 
scorn to paint designs upon satinwood furniture. 

Matthias Lock and Thomas Johnson were nota- 
ble as designers of frames for pier glasses, ovals, 
girandoles, etc. 

Thomas Shearer's name was signed to the best 
designs of those published in 1788 in " The Cabinet- 
Makers' Book of Prices." His drawings comprise 
tables of various sorts, dressing-chests, writing-desks, 
and sideboards, but there is not one chair among 

6 Furniture of the Olden Time 

them. He was the first to design the form of side- 
board with which we are familiar. 

As Chippendale's name is used to designate the 
furniture of 17 50-1 780, so the furniture of the suc- 
ceeding period may be called Hepplewhite; for al- 
though he was one of several cabinet-makers who 
worked together, his is the best-known name, and 
his was probably the most original genius. His 
chairs bear no resemblance to those of Chippendale, 
and are lighter and more graceful ; but because of 
the attention he paid to those qualifications, strength 
of construction and durability were neglected. His 
chair-backs have no support beside the posts which 
extend up from the back legs, and upon these the 
shield or heart-shaped back rests in such a manner 
that it could endure but little strain. 

Hepplewhite's sideboards were admirable in form 
and decoration, and it is from them and his chairs 
that his name is fimiliar in this country. His swell 
or serpentine front bureaus were copied in great 
numbers here. 

His specialty was the inlaying or painting with 
which his furniture was enriched. Satinwood had 
been introduced from India shortly before this, and 
tables, chairs, sideboards, and bureaus were inlaid 
with this wood upon mahogany, while small pieces 
were veneered entirely with it. The same artists 
who assisted the Adam brothers painted medallions, 
wreaths of flowers or arabesque work upon Hepple- 
white's satinwood furniture. Not much of this 
painted furniture came to this country, but the 
fashion was followed by our ancestresses, who were 


Introduction 7 

taught, among other accomplishments, to paint 
flowers and figures upon light wood furniture, 
tables and screens being the pieces usually chosen 
for decoration. 

Thomas Sheraton published in 1791 and 1793, 
"The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Drawing 
Book"; in 1803, his "Cabinet Dictionary"; in 
1804, "Designs for Household Furniture," and 
" The Cabinet-Maker, Upholsterer, and General 
Artist's Encyclopedia," which was left unfinished 
in 1807. 

"The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Draw- 
ing Book" is largely taken up with drawings and 
remarks upon perspective, which are hopelessly un- 
intelligible. His instructions for making the pieces 
designed are most minute, and it is probably due to 
this circumstantial care that Sheraton's furniture, 
light as it looks, has lasted in good condition for a 
hundred years or more. 

Sheraton's chairs differ from Hepplewhite's, which 
they resemble in many respects, in the construction 
of the backs, which are usually square, with the back 
legs extending to the top rail, and the lower rail 
joining the posts a few inches above the seat. The 
backs were ornamented with carving, inlaying, paint- 
ing, gilding, and brass. The lyre was a fivorite 
design, and it appears in his chair-backs and in the 
supports for tables, often with the strings made of 
brass wire. 

Sheraton's sideboards are similar to those of 
Shearer and Hepplewhite, but are constructed with 
more attention to the utilitarian side, with sundry 

8 Furniture of the Olden Time 

conveniences, and with the fluted legs which Sher- 
aton generally uses. His designs show sideboards 
also with ornamental brass rails at the back, holding 

His desks and writing-tables are carefully and 
minutely described, so that the manifold combina- 
tions and contrivances can be accurately made. 

Sheraton's later furniture was heavy and generally 
ugly, following the Empire fashions, and his fame 
rests upon the designs in his first book. He was 
the last of the great English cabinet-makers, although 
he had many followers in England and in America. 

After the early years of the nineteenth century, 
the fashionable furniture was in the heavy, clumsy 
styles which were introduced with the Empire, until 
the period of ugly black walnut furniture which is 
familiar to us all. 

While there have always been a few who collected 
antique furniture, the general taste for collecting 
began with the interest kindled by the Centennial 
Exposition m 1876. Not many years ago the col- 
lector of old furniture and china was jeered at, and 
one who would^eyyijiwenty years since, buy an old 
" high-boy " rat^hej than a new black walnut chif- 
fonier, was looked upSn as " queer." All that is 
now changed. The chiffonier is banished for the 
high-boy, when the belated collector can secure one, 
and the influence of antique furniture may be seen 
in the immense quantity of new furniture modelled 
after the antique designs, but not made, alas, with 
the care and thought for durability which were 
bestowed upon furniture by the old cabinet-makers. 

Introduction 9 

Heaton savs : " It appears to require about a 
century for the wheel of fashion to make one com- 
plete revolution. What our great-grandfathers 
bought and valued (1750-1790); what our grand- 
fathers despised and neglected (1790-1820); what 
our fathers utterly forgot (1820-1850), we value, 
restore, and copy ! " 




HE chest was a 
most important 
piece of furniture 
in households of 
the sixteenth and seven- 
teenth centuries. It served 
as table, seat, or trunk, 
besides its accepted pur- 
H pose to hold valuables of 
various kinds. 

Chests are mentioned in 
the earliest colonial inven- 
tories. Ship chests, board 
chests, joined chests, wain- 
scot chests with drawers, 
and carved chests are some 
of the entries ; but the 
^^V> larger portion are inven- 
toried simply as chests. 
All woodwork — chests, stools, or tables — which 
was framed together, chiefly with mortise and tenon, 
was called joined, and joined chests and wainscot 
chests were probably terms applied to panelled 




Chests, Chests of Drawers, Dressing-tables 1 1 

chests to distinguish them from those of plain boards, 
which were common in every household, and which 
were brought to this country on the ships with the 
colonists, holding their scanty possessions. 

The oldest carved chests were made without 
drawers beneath, and were carved in low relief in 
designs which appear upon other pieces of oak fur- 
niture of the same period. 

lllus. 1.— Oak Cricst, about ItoO. 

Illustration i shows a chest now in Memorial 
Hall, at Deerfield, which was taken from the house 
where the Indians made their famous attack in 1704. 
The top of the chest is missing, and the feet, which 
were continuations of the stiles, are worn away or 
sawed off. The design and execution of the carving 
are unusually fine, combining several different pat- 
terns, all of an early date. Chests were carved in 
the arch design with three or four panels, but seldom 
as elaborately as this, which was probably made 
before 1650. 

Illustration 2 shows a remarkable chest now 
owned by Mrs. Caroline Foote Marsh of Clare- 

12 Furniture of the Olden Time 

mont-on-the-James, Virginia. Until recently it has 
remained in the family of D'Olney Stuart, whose 
ancestor, of the same name, was said to be of the 
royal Stuart blood, and who brought it with him 
when he fled to Virginia after the beheading of 
Charles I. 

The feet have been recently added, and should be 
large balls ; otherwise the chest is original in every 
respect. It is made entirely of olive-wood, the body 
being constructed of eight-inch planks. The deco- 
ration is produced with carving and burnt work. 
Upon the inside of the lid are three panels, the 
centre one containing a portrait in burnt work 
of James I. with his little dog by his side. The 
two side panels portray the Judgment of Solomo'n, 
the figures being clad in English costumes ; in the left 
panel the two kneeling women claim the child ; in 
the right the child is held up for the executioner to 
carry out Solomon's command to cut it in two. The 
outside of the lid has the Stuart coat of arms burnt 
upon it. Upon the front of the chest are four 
knights, and between them are three panels, sur- 
rounded by a moulding, which is now missing 
around the middle panel. These three panels are 
carved and burnt with views of castles ; and around 
the lock, above the middle panel, are carved the 
British lions supporting the royal coat of arms. 
The chest measures six feet in length and is twenty- 
four inches high. 

Chests with drawers are mentioned as early as 
1650, and the greater number of chests found in 
New England have one or two drawers. 


Chests, Chests of Drawers, Dressing-tables 15 

Illustration 3 shows a chest with one drawer 
owned by the Connecticut Historical Society, made 
about 1660. There is no carving upon this chest, 
which is panelled and ornamented with turned spin- 
dles and drops. The stiles are continued below the 
chest to form the feet. 

Illus. 3. — Panelled Chest with One Drawer, about 1660. 

A chest with two drawers is shown in Illustration 
4, made probably in Connecticut, as about fifty of 
this style have been found there, chiefly in Hartford 
County. The top, back, and bottom are of pine, 
the other portions of the chest being of American 
oak. T'he design of the carving is similar upon all 
these chests, and the turned drop ornament upon 
the stiles, and the little egg-shaped pieces upon the 
drawers, appear upon all. They have been found 
with one or two drawers or none, but usually with 
two. This chest is in Memorial Hall, at Deerfield. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

A chest with two drawers owned by Charles R. 
Waters, Esq., of Salem, is shown in Illustration 5. 
The mouldings upon the front of the frame are carved 
in a simple design. The wood in the centre of the 
panels is stained a dark color, the spindles and 
mouldings being of oak like the rest of the chest. 

■--. ri^ " 

~~^-"^ " "•" ;, '"^^'"ss 

-.., ^-fi •>■■,- - . --^i«-..— r.-.xi.;i-i..-' 


; "" * '^..— 

- s^ ■ 


y ^ V) 

ij Illus. 4. — Oak Chest with Two Drawers, about 1675, ' 

An oak chest with three drawers is shown in Illus- 
tration 6. It formed a part of the wedding outfit 
of Sarah Hawks, who was married in 1726, and it 
is now in the Deerfield Museum. The fact that 
several chests carved in this design have been found 
about Hadley has given them the name of Had- 

Chests, Chests of Drawers, Dressing-tables 17 

ley chests. The carving in all is the same and is 
stained, in this chest being stained red, while the 
background is left the natural color of the wood. 
Hadley chests all have the centre front panel the 
same, with a plain space in which initials are usually 
carved. The fronts of the chest only are carved, 
the ends being panelled. 

Illus. 5. — Panelled Chest with Two Drawers, 
about 1675. 

Carved chests with three drawers are rarely found 
in anv design, although the plain board chests were 
made with that number. 

Illustration 7 and Illustration 8 show chests 
mounted upon frames. Illustration 8 stands thirtv- 
two inches high and is thirty inches wide, and is made 
of oak, with one drawer. It is in the collection of 
Charles R. Waters, Esq., of Salem. Illustration 7 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

is slightly taller, with one drawer. This chest is in 
the collection of the late Major Ben Perley Poore, 
at Indian Hill. Such chests upon frames are rarely 
found, and by some they are supposed to have been 
made for use as desks ; but it seems more probable 
that they were simply chests for linen, taking the 
place of the high chest of drawers which was gradu- 

lllus. 6. — Carved Chest with Three Drawers, about 1700. 

ally coming into fashion during the latter half of 
the seventeenth century, and possibly being its fore- 
runner. Chests continued in manufacture and in 
use until after 1700, but they were probably not 
made later than 1720 in any numbers, as several 
years previous to that date they were inventoried as 
" old," a word which was as condemnatory in those 
years as now, as far as the fashions were concerned. , 
Chests of drawers appear in inventories about l| 

Chests, Chests of Drawers, Dressing-tables 19 

1645. They were usually made of oak and were 
smiilar in design to the chests of that period. 

The oak chest of drawers in Illustration 9 is 
owned by E. R. Lemon, Esq., of the Wayside Inn, 
Sudbury. It has four drawers, and the decoration is 
smiply panelling. The feet are the large balls which 
were used upon chests finished with a deep mould- 
ing at the lower edge. The drop handles are of an 

T' lllus. 7 and Illus. 8. — Panelled Chests upon Frames, 

unusual design, the drop being of bell-flower shape. 
This chest of drawers was found in Maiden. 

From the time that high chests of drawers were 
introduced, during the last part of the seventeenth 
century, the use of oak in furniture gradually ceased, 
and its place was taken by walnut or cherry, and 
later by mahogany. With 'the disuse of oak came 
a change in the style of chests, which were no longer 
made in the massive panelled designs of earlier years. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

The moulding around the drawers is somewhat 
of a guide to the age of a piece of furniture. The 
earliest moulding was large and single, upon the 
frame around the drawers. The next moulding con- 
sisted of two strips, forming a double moulding. 

Illus. 9. — Panelled Chest of Drawers, about 1680. 

These strips were in some cases separated by a plain 
band about half an inch in width. Later still, upon 
block front pieces a small single moulding bordered 
the frame around the drawers, while upon Hepple- 
white and Sheraton furniture the moulding was upon 
the drawer itself Early in the eighteenth century, 

Chests, Chests of Drawers, Dressing-tables 


about 1720, high chests were 
made with no moulding 
about the drawers, the edges 
of which lapped over the 

Another guide to the age 
of a piece of furniture made 
with drawers is found in the 
brass handles, which are 
shown in Illustration 10 in 
the different styles in use 
from 1675. The handle and 
escutcheon lettered A, called 
a " drop handle," was used 
upon six-legged high chests, 
and sometimes upon chests. 
The drop may be solid or 
hollowed out in the back. 
The shape of the plate and 
escutcheon varies, being 
round, diamond, or shield 
shaped, cut in curves or 
points upon the edges, and 
generally stamped. It is 
fastened to the drawer front 
by a looped wire, the ends 
of which pass through a hole 
in the wood and are bent in 
the inside of the drawer. 

A handle and escutcheon of 
lettered B. They are found u 
early bandy-legged high chests. 

Illustration 10. 

the next style are 

pon six-legged and 

The plate of the 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

handle is of a type somewhat earlier than the es- 
cutcheon. Both are stamped, and the bail of the 

handle is fastened 
with looped wires. 
Letter C shows 
the earliest styles 
of handles with 
the bail fastened 
into bolts which 
screw into the 
drawer. Letters 
D, E, and F give 
the succeeding 
styles of brass 
handles, the de- 
sign growing more 
elaborate and in- 
creasing in size. 
These are found 
upon desks, chests 
of drawers, com- 
modes, and other 
pieces of furni- 
ture of the Chip- 
pendale period. 

The earliest 
form of high chest 

Illus. 1 1. — Six-legged High Chest of Drawers, of drawers had six 

1705-1715. turned legs, four 

in front and two in the back, with stretchers between 
the legs, and was of Dutch origin, as well as the high 
chest with bandy or cabriole legs, which was some 


Chests, Chests of Drawers, Dressing-tables 23 

years later in date. Six-legged chests were made 
during the last quarter of the seventeenth century, 
and were usually of walnut, either solid or veneered 
upon pine or whitewood ; other woods were rarely 
employed. The earliest six-legged chests were made 
with the single moulding upon the frame about the 
drawers, and with two drawers at the top, which was 
alwavs flat, as the broken arch did not appear in 
furniture until about 1730. The lower part had 
but one long drawer, and 
the curves of the lower 
edge were in a single 

The six-legged high 
chest of drawers in Illus- 
tration 1 1 belongs to 
F. A. Robart, Esq., of 
Boston. It is veneered 
with the walnut burl and 
is not of the earliest type 

of the six-legged chest, '""^- 12. -Walnut Dressing-table. 
t)& ' about 1700. 

but was made about 

1705-17 1 5. The handles are the drop handles 
shown in letter A, and the moulding upon the 
frame around the drawers is double. There is a 
shallow drawer in the heavy cornice at the top, and 
the lower part contains three drawers. 

Dressing-tables were made to go with these chests 
of drawers, but with four instead of six legs. Their 
tops were usually veneered, and they were, like the 
high chests, finished with a small beading around 
the curves of the lower edge. 

24 Furniture of the Olden Time 

The dressing-table in Illustration 12 also belongs 
to Mr. Robart, and shows the style in which that 
piece of furniture was made. 

The names " high-boy " and " low-boy " or " high- 
daddy " and "low-daddy" are not mentioned in 
old records and were probably suggested by the 
appearance of the chests mounted upon their high 

High chests, both six-legged and bandy-legged, 
with their dressing-tables were sometimes decorated 
with the lacquering which was so fashionable during 
the first part of the eighteenth century. 

The earliest high chests with cabriole or bandy 
legs, are flat-topped, and have two short drawers, 
like the six-legged chests, at the top. They are 
made of walnut, or of pine veneered with walnut. 
The curves at the lower edge are similar to those 
upon six-legged chests and are occasionally finished 
with a small bead-moulding. 

The bandy-legged high-boy in Illustration 13 is 
owned by Dwight Blaney, Esq. It is veneered with 
walnut and has a line of whitewood inlaid around 
each drawer. The moulding upon the frame sur- 
rounding the drawers is the separated double mould- 
ing, and the handles are of the early stamped type 
shown in Illustration 10, letter B. The arrangement 
of drawers in both lower and upper parts is the same 
as in six-legged chests. A reminder of the fifth 
and sixth legs is left in the turned drops between the 
curves of the lower edge. 

Steps to display china or earthenware were in use 
during the second quarter of the eighteenth century. 

Chests, Chests oi Drawers, Dressing-tables 25 

They were generally movable pieces, made like the 

steps in Illustration 13, in two or three tiers, the 

lower tier smaller _ . 

than the top of the 

high chest, forming 

with the chest-top 

a set of graduated 

shelves upon the 

front and sides. 

The broken arch, 
which had been used 
in chimney pieces 
during the seven- 
teenth century,made 
its appearance upon 
furniture in the early 
years of the eigh- 
teenth century, and 
the handsomest 
chests were made 
with the broken arch 

A most unusual 
and interesting high 
chest is shown in 
Illustration 14, from 
the Warner house 

in Portsmouth. It lllus. 1 3. — Cabriole-legged High Chest 
is of walnut with in- °^ Drawers with China Steps, about 

laying of light and 

dark wood around each drawer. The upper middle 

drawer is inlaid in a design of pillars with the rising 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

sun between them, and below the sun are inlaid the 
initials J. S. and the date 1733. The lower drawer 

has a star inlaid be- 
tween the pillars, 
and a star is inlaid 
upon each end of 
the case. The 
knobs at the top 
are inlaid with the 
star, and the mid- 
dle knob ends in a 
carved flame. 

J. S. was John 
Sherburne, whose 
son married the 
daughter of Colonel 
Warner. The legs 
of this chest were 
ruthlessly sawed off 
many years ago, in 
order that it might 
stand in a low-ceil- 
inged room, and it 
is only in compara- 
tively recent years 
that it has belonged 
to the branch of the 
family now owning 
the Warner house. 
A double moulding runs upon the frame around 
the drawers, and the original handles were probably 
small, of the type in Illustration 10, letter C. 

IIlus. 14. 

Inlaid Walnut High Chest of 
Drawers, 1733. 

Chests, Chests of Drawers, Dressing-tables 27 

A walnut high chest of a somewhat later type is 
shown in Illustration 15, owned by Mrs. Dr. Rufus 
Woodward of Worcester. It is of walnut veneered 
upon pine, and the 
shells upon the up- 
per and lower middle 
drawers are gilded, 
for they are, of course, 
carved from the pine 
beneath the veneer. 
The frame has the 
separated double 
moulding around the 
drawers. A row of 
light inlaying extends 
around each drawer, 
and in the three long 
drawers of the upper 
part the inlaying sim- 
ulates the division 
into two drawers, 
which is carried out 
in the top drawers of 
both the upper and 
lower parts. The large 
handles and the fluted 
columns at the sides 
would indicate that 
this chest was made 
about 1 760-1 770. 

Illustration 16 shows a "high-boy" and "low- 
boy" of walnut, owned by the writer. The drawers, 

Illus. 15. — Inlaid Walnut High Chest 
of Drawers, about 1760. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

it will be seen, lap over the frame. The " high-boy " 
is original in every respect except the ring handles, 
which are new, upon the drawers carved with the 
rising sun or fan design. It was found in the attic 
of an old house, with 
the top separate from 
the lower part and 
every drawer out upon 
the floor, filled with 
seeds, rags, and — kit- 
tens, who, terrified by 
the invasion of the an- 
tique hunter, scurried 
from their resting- 
places, to the number 
of nine or ten, remind- 
ing one of Lowell's 
lines in the " Biglow 
Papers " : — 

Illus. 16. — " Low-boy "and "High-boy" of Walnut, about 

Chests, Chests of Drawers, Dressing-tables 29 

" But the old chest won't sarve her gran'son's wife, 
(For 'thout new furnitoor what good in lite?) 
An' so old claw foot, from the precinks dread 
O' the spare chamber, slinks into the shed. 
Where, dim with dust, it fust and last subsides 
To holdin' seeds an' fifty other things besides." 

But carefully wrapped up and tucked away in one 
of the small drawers were the torches for the upper 
and the acorn-shaped drops for the lower part. 
These drops were used as long as the curves followed 
those of the lower part of six-legged chests, but were 
omitted when more graceful curves and lines were 
used, as the design of high chests gradually dif- 
fered from the early types. 

The " low-boy," or dressing-table, was made to 
accompany every style of high chest. The low-boy 
in Illustration 16 shows the dressing-table which 
was probably used in the room with the bandy- 
legged high-boy, flat-topped or with the broken 
arch cornice. It is lower than the under part 
of the high-boy, which is, however, frequently sup- 
plied with a board top and sold as a low-boy, but 
which can be easily detected from its height and 
general appearance. The measurements of this high- 
boy and low-boy are 

HIGH-BOY, lower part low-boy 

3 feet high 2 feet 4 inches high 

3 feet I i inches long 2 feet 6 inches long 

21 inches deep 18 inches deep 

The high-boy measures seven feet from the floor 
to the top of the cornice. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

High chests and dressing-tables were made of 
maple, often very beautifully marked, in the same 

style as the chests 
of walnut and cher- 
ry. The high chest 
was sometimes made 
with the drawers ex- 
tending nearly to the 
floor, and mounted 
upon bracket, ogee, 
or claw - and - ball 
feet. This was called 
a double chest, or 

The double chest 
in Illustration 17 is 
in the Warner house 
at Portsmouth. It 
is of English wal- 
nut, and the lower 
part is constructed 
with a recessed cup- 
board like the writ- 
ing-table in Illus- 
tration 82. The 
handles upon this 
chest are very mas- 
Walnut Double Chest, about sive, and upon the 
^^^°- ends of both the 

upper and lower parts are still larger handles with 
which to lift the heavy chest. 

A double chest which was probably made in New- 

lUus. 17. 

Illus. 18. — Mahogany Double Chest, 1765. 

Chests, Chests of Drawers, Dressing-tables ^3 

port, Rhode Island, about 1 760-1 770, is shown in 
Illustration 18. The lower part is blocked and is 
carved in the same beautiful shells as Illustration 25 
and Illustration 82. This double chest was made 
for John Brown of Providence, the leader of the 
party who captured the Gaspee m 1772, and one 
of the four famous Brown brothers, whose name 
is perpetuated in Brown University. This chest is 
now owned by a descendant of John Brown, John 
Brown Francis Herreshoff, Esq., of New York. 

Illus. 19. — Block-front Dressing-table, 
about 1750. 

A low-bov of unusual design, in the Warner 
house, is shown in Illustration 19. The front is 
blocked, with a double moulding upon the frame 
around the drawers. The bill of lading in Illustra- 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

tion 85 specified a dressing-table, brought from 
England to this house in 17 16, but so early a date 
cannot be assigned to this piece, although it is un- 
doubtedly English, like the double chair in Illustra- 
tion 169, which has similar feet, for such lions' feet 

are almost never 
found upon furni- 
ture made in this 
country. The shape 
of the cabriole leg 
is poor, the curves 
being too abrupt, 
but the general ef- 
fect of the low-boy 
is very rich. The 
handles are the orig- 
inal ones, and they 
with the fluted col- 
umns and blocked 
front determine the 
date of the dressing- 
table to be about 

The low-boy in 

Illus. 20. -Dressing-table, about 1760. Illustration 20 is 

probably of slightly later date. It has the sepa- 
rated double moulding upon the frame around the 
drawers, and the curves of the lower part are like 
the early high chests, but the carving upon the cab- 
riole legs, and the fluted columns at the corners, like 
those in Chippendale's designs, indicate that it was 
made after 1750. Upon the top are two pewter 

Illus. 21. — High Chest of Drawers, about 1765. 

Chests, Chests of Drawers, Dressing-tables 37 

lamps, one with glass lenses to intensify the light ; a 
smoker's tongs, and a pipe-case of mahogany, with 
a little drawer in it to hold the tobacco. This dress- 
ing-table is owned by Walter Hosmer, Esq. 

The richest and most elaborate style attained in 
such pieces of furniture is shown in the high chest in 
Illustration 21, which is one of the finest high chests 
known. The proportions are perfect, and the carv- 
ing is all well executed. This chest was at one time 
in the Pendleton collection, and is now owned by 
Harry Harkness Flagler, Esq., of Millbrook, New 

Such a chest as this was in Nathaniel Hawthorne's 
mind when he wrote : " After all, the moderns 
have invented nothing better in chamber furniture 
than those chests which stand on four slender legs, 
and send an absolute tower of mahogany to the ceil- 
ing, the whole terminating in a fantastically carved 

The dressing-table and looking-glass in Illus- 
tration 22 are also owned by Mr. Flagler. The 
looking-glass is described upon page 347. The 
dressing-table is a beautiful and dainty piece of fur- 
niture of the same high standard as the chest last 
described. The carving upon the cabriole legs 
is unusually elaborate and well done. It will be 
noticed that the lower edge of these pieces is no 
longer finished in the simple manner of the earlier 
high-boys and low-boys, but is cut in curves, which 
vary with each piece of furniture. 

In Illustration 279 upon page 339 is a low-boy of 
walnut, owned by the writer, of unusually graceful 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

proportions, the 
carved legs being 
extremely slen- 
der. The shell 
upon this low- 
boy is carved in 
the frame below 
the middle drawer 
instead of upon 
it, as is usual. 

The dressing- 
table in Illustra- 
tion 23 also 
belongs to the 
writer. It is of 
walnut, like the 
majority of simi- 
lar pieces, and is 
finely carved but 
is not so graceful 
as Illustration 
279. The handles 
are the original 
ones and are very 
large and hand- 

H igh chests 
and the accom- 
panying dressing- 
tables continued 
in use vmtil the 
later years of the 
eighteenth cen- 

Chests, Chests of Drawers, Dressing-tables 39 

tury. Hepplewhite's book, published in 1789, 
contains designs for chests of drawers, extending 
nearly to the floor, with bracket feet, one having 

Ulus. 23. — Walnut Dressing-table, about 1770. 

fluted columns at the corners, and an urn with gar- 
lands above the flat top. It is probable, however, 
that high chests of drawers were not made in any 
number after 1790. 




HE word "bureau" 
is now used to des- 
ignate low chests of 
drawers. Chippen- 
dale called such pieces " com- 
mode tables " or " commode 
bureau tables." As desks with 
slanting lids for a long period 
during the eighteenth century 
were called " bureaus " or 
" bureau desks," the proba- 
bility is that chests of drawers 
which resembled desks in the 
construction of the lower 
part, went by the name of 
" bureau tables " because of the flat table-top. 
Hepplewhite called such pieces "commodes" or 
" chests of drawers." As the general name by 
which they are now known is " bureau," it has 
seemed simpler to call them so in this chapter. 

Bureaus were made of mahogany, birch, or cherry, 
and occasionally of maple, while a few have been 
found of rosewood. Walnut was not used in ser- 


Bureaus and Washstands 


pentine or swell front bureaus, although walnut 
chests of drawers are not uncommon, which look, 
like the top part of a high chest, with bracket feet, 
and handles of an early design ; and so far as the 
writer's observation goes, few bureaus with three 
or four drawers were made of walnut. 

Illus. 24. — Block-front Bureau, about 1770. 

The small bureau in Illustration 24 is in the 
Warner house in Portsmouth. It is of mahogany, 
with an unusual form of block front, the blocking 
being rounded. The shape of the board top corre- 
sponds to the curves upon the front of the drawers. 
The handles are large, and upon each end is a mas- 
sive handle to lift the bureau by. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

Illustration 25 shows a block-front bureau owned 
by the writer. Chippendale gives a design of a bu- 
reau similar to this, with three drawers upon rather 
high legs, under the name of " commode table." 

lUus. 26. — Kettle-shaped Bureau, about 1770. 

The height of the legs brings the level of the bureau 
top about the same as one with four drawers. One 
handle and one escutcheon were remaining upon 
this bureau, and the others were cast from them. 
The block front with its unusually fine shells would 
indicate that this piece, which came from Colchester, 
Connecticut, was made by the same Newport cabinet- 
maker as the writing-table in Illustration 82, and 

lUus. 25. — Block-front Bureau, about 1770. 

Bureaus and Washstands 


the double chest in Illustration i8, which were 
made about 1765. The looking-glass in the illus- 
tration is described upon page 362. 

Illustration 26 shows a mahogany bureau of the 
style known as " kettle " shape, owned by Charles 
R. Waters, Esq., of Salem. Desks and secretaries 
were occasionally made with the lower part in this 
style, and many modern pieces of Dutch marqueterie 
with kettle fronts are sold as antiques. But little 
marqueterie furniture was brought to this country 
in old times, and even among the descendants of 
Dutch families in New York State it is almost 
impossible to find 
any genuine old 
pieces of Dutch 

A bureau with 
serpentine front is 
shown in Illustra- 
tion 27. It is made 
in two sections, the 
upper part with four 
drawers being set 
into the moulding 
around the base in 
the same manner as 
the top part of a 
high-boy sets into the lower part. The bureau is 
owned by Charles Sibley, Esq., of Worcester. 

The bureaus described so far all have the small 
single moulding upon the frame around the drawer. 
From the time when the designs of Shearer and 

lllus. 27. — Serpentine-front Bureau, 
about 1770. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

Hepplewhite became fashionable, bureaus were made 
with a fine bead moulding upon the edge of the 
drawer itself or without any moulding. 

The serpentine-front bureau in Illustration 28 
belongs to Mrs. Johnson-Hudson of Stratford, 
Connecticut. The corners are cut off so as to 
form the effect of a narrow pillar, which is, like the 

Illus. 28. — Serpentine-front Bureau, about 1785. 

drawers and the bracket feet, inlaid with fine lines 
of holly. The bracket feet and the handles would 
indicate that this bureau was made before 1789. 

A bureau of the finest Hepplewhite type is shown 
in Illustration 29, owned by Mrs. Charles H. Carroll 
of Worcester. The base has the French foot which 

Bureaus and Washstands 


was so much used by Hepplewhitc, which is entirely 
different from Chippendale's French foot. The 

Illus. 29. — Swell-front Inlaid Bureau, about 1795. 

curves of the lower edge, which are outlined with a 
line of holly, are unusually graceful ; the knobs are 

Illustration 30 shows the styles of handles chiefly 
found upon pieces of furniture with drawers, after 
1770. A is a handle which was used during the 
last years of the Chippendale period, and the first 
years of the Hepplewhite. B and C are the oval 
pressed brass handles found upon Hepplewhite furni- 
ture. They were made round as well as oval, and 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

Illustration 30. 

were in various designs ; the 
eagle with thirteen stars, a ser- 
pent, a beehive, a spray of 
flowers, or heads of historic per- 
sonages — Washington and Jef- 
ferson being the favorites. D is 
the rosette and ring handle, of 
which E shows an elaborate form. 
These handles were used upon 
Sheraton pieces and also upon 
the heavy veneered mahogany 
furniture made during the first 
quarter of the nineteenth cen- 
tury. F is the brass knob 
handle used from 1800 to 1820. 
G is. the glass knob which, in 
clear and opalescent glass, came 
into use about 18 15 and which 
is found upon furniture made 
for twenty years after that date, 
after which time wooden knobs 
were used, often displacing the 
old brass handles. 

Looking-glasses made to 
swing in a frame are mentioned 
in inventories of 1750, and about 
that date may be given to the 
dressing-glass with drawers, 
shown in Illustration 31. It was 
owned by Lucy Flucker, who 
took it with her when, in oppo- 
sition to her parents' wishes, she 

Bureaus and Washstands 


married in 1774 the patriot General Knox. It is 
now in the possession of the Hon. James Phinney 
Baxter, Esq., of Portland, Maine. Such dressing- 
glasses were intended 
to stand upon a dress- 
ing-table or bureau. 

A bureau and dress- 
ing-glass owned by 
the writer are shown 
in Illustration 32. 
The bureau is of 
cherry, with the 
drawer fronts ve- 
neered in mahogany 
edged with satinwood. 
A row of fine inlay- 
ing runs around the 
edge of the top and 
beneath the drawers. 
This lower line of in- 
laying appears upon 
inexpensive bureaus 
of this period, and 
seems to have been 
considered indispen- 
sable to the finish of 

Illus. 31. — Drecsing-glass, about 1760. 

a bureau. The dressing-glass is of mahogany and 
satinwood with fine inlaying around the frame of 
the glass and the edge of the stand. The base 
of the bureau is of a plain type, while that of the 
dressing-glass has the same graceful curves that 
appear in Illustration 29. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

The bureaus in Illustration 29 and Illustration 32 
are in the Hepplewhite style. The bureau and 
dressing-glass in Illustration 23 are distinctly Shera- 
ton, of the best style. They are owned by Dwight 
Blaney, Esq., of Boston, and were probably made 
about 1 8 10. The carving upon the bureau legs 
and upon the corners and side supports to the 

dressing-glass is 
finely executed. 
The handles to 
the drawers are 
brass knobs. 

A bureau of 
the same date is 
shown in Illus- 
tration 34. It 
was owned orig- 
inally by Will- 
iam F. Lane, 
Esq., of Boston. 
Mr. Lane had 
I several children, 
i forwhomhehad 
miniature pieces 
of furniture 
made, the little 
sofa in Illustra- 
tion 179 being 
one. The small 

Illus. 32. — Bureau and Dressing-glass, 1795. , ^i 

bureau upon the 
top of the large one was part of a bedroom set, 
which included a tiny four-post bedstead. This 

Illus. 33.— Bureau and Dressing-glass, about 1810. 

Bureaus and Washstands 


miniature furniture was of mahogany like the large 

pieces. The handles upon the large bureau are not 

original. They should be rosette and ring, or knobs 

similar to those upon the small bureau. The bureaus 

are now owned 

bv a daughter 

of Mr. Lane, 

Mrs. Thomas 

H. Gage of 


Bureaus of 
this style were 
frequently made 
of cherry with 
the drawer fronts 
of curly or bird's- 
eye maple, the 
fluted pillars at 
the corner and 
the frame around 
the drawers be- 
ing of cherry or 

The splendid 
case of drawers with closet above in Illustration ^S 
was made at the same time as the bureau in Illustra- 
tion 34 for Mr. Lane, and is owned by Mrs. Gage. 
It is ot mahogany, the doors of the closet being of 
especially handsome wood. The carving at the top 
of the fluted legs is fine, and the piece of furniture is 
massive and commodious. 

The bureau in Illustration 36 is also owned by 

Illus. 34. — Bureau and Miniature 
Bureau, about 1810. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

Mrs. Gage, and is a very good specimen of the fur- 
niture in the heavy style fashionable during the first 

quarter of the nine- 
teenth century. It 
was probably made 
to match a four-post 
bedstead with twisted 
posts surmounted by 
pineapples. The 
drawer fronts are ve- 
neered, like those of 
all the bureaus illus- 
trated in this chapter 
except the first four, 
and there is no 
moulding upon the 
edge of the drawers. 
Illustration 37 
shows the heaviest 
form of bureau, made 
about the same time 
as the last one shown, 
with heavily carved 
pillars and bears' 
feet. The drawer 
fronts are veneered 
and have no mould- 
ing upon the edge. 
This bureau is owned 
by Mrs. S. B. Woodward of Worcester, and it is a 
fine example of the furniture after the style of Em- 
pire pieces. 

Illus. 35. — Case of Drawers with 
Closet. 1810. 

Bureaus and Washstands 


The toilet conveniences of our ancestors seem to 
our eyes most inadequate, and it is impossible that a 
very free use of water was customary, with the tiny 
bowls and pitchers which were used and the small 

Illus. 36. — Bureau, about 1815 

and inconvenient washstands. A "bason frame" 
appears in an inventory of 1654. Chippendale 
designed " bason stands " which were simply a tri- 
pod stand, into the top of which the basin fitted. 
The drawings of Shearer, Hepplewhite, and Shera- 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

ton show both square and corner washstands of 
mahogany, with slender legs. 

The washstand in Illustration 38 is of mahogany, 
and differs from the usual corner stand in having 

the enclosed cupboard. It was made from a Hep- 
plewhite design and is owned by Francis H. Bigelow, 
Esq., of Cambridge. 

The corner washstand in Illustration 39 is owned 
by the writer. It is of mahogany, and the drawers 

Bureaus and Washstands 


are finely inlaid, probably after a Sheraton design. 
The little towel-rack is of somewhat later date and is 
made of maple, stained. The washbowl and pitcher 
are dark-blue Staffordshire ware, with the well-known 
design ot the " Tomb of 
Franklin " upon them. 

While the corner wash- 
stand possessed the vir- 
tues of taking up but 
little room, and being 
out of the way, the latter 
consideration must have 
been keenly felt by those 
who, with head thrust 
into the corner, were 
obliged to use it. 

A square washstand 
of more convenient 
shape, but still con- 
structed for the small 
bowl and pitcher, is 
shown in Illustration 40. 
It is of mahogany and is 
in the style that was 
used from 18 15 to 1830. 
This washstand is ovyned by Mrs. E. A. Morse of 

Both corner and square washstands have an open- 
ing in the top, into which was set the washbowl, and 
two — sometimes three — small openings for the 
Httle cups which were used to hold the soap. 

Hepplewhite's book, published in 1789, shows 

Illus. 38. — Corner Wash- 
stand, 1790. 



Furniture of the Olden Time 

designs of " night tables " like the one in Illustration 
41, but they are not often found in this country. 
This table is of mahogany, with tambour doors, and 

Illus. 39.— Towel-rack and Washstand, 1790-1800. 

a carved rim around the top, pierced at each side to 
form a handle. The wood of the interior of the 
drawer is oak, showing that the table was probably 
made in England. It is owned by the writer. 


Bureaus and Washstands. 


There are several draw- 
ings in the books ot Hep- 
plewhite and Sheraton of 
washstands and toilet- 
tables with complicated 
arrangements for looking- 
glasses and toilet appur- 
tenances, but such pieces 
of furniture could not 
have been common even 
in England, and cer- 
tainly were not in this 

In Illustration 223 up- 
on page 263 is shown a 


Illus. 41. — Night Table, 1785. 

Illus. 40. — Washstand.lSlS- 

piano which can be 
used as a toilet-table, 
with a looking-glass 
and trays for various 
articles, but it must 
have been, even when 
new, regarded less 
from the utilitarian 
side, and rather as a 
novel and ornamental 
piece of furniture. 



,NE of the most 
valuable pieces of 
furniture in the 
household of the 
seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries was the bedstead 
with its belongings. Bed- 
steads and beds occupy a 
large space in inventories, 
and their valuation was 
often far more than that 
of any other article in the 
inventory, sometimes more 
than all the others. In 
spite of the great value placed upon them, none have 
survived to show us exactly what was meant by the 
" oak Marlbrough bedstead " or the " half-headed 
bedstead" in early inventories. About the bedstead 
up to 1750 we know only what these inventories tell 
us, but the inference is that bedsteads similar to those 
in England at that time, were also in use in the 
colonies. The greater portion of the value of the 
bedstead lay in its furnishings, — the hangings, 
feather bed, bolster, quilts, blankets, and coverlid, 




— the bedstead proper, 
being placed at so low 
must have been ex- 
tremely plain. Sev- 
eral cradles made in 
the seventeenth cen- 
tury are still in exist- 
ence. Illustration 42 
shows one which is 
in Pilgrim Hall, 
Plymouth, and which 
is said to have shel- 
tered Peregrine 
White, the first child 
born in this country 
to the Pilgrims. It 
is of wicker and of O 

when inventoried separately, 
a sum that one concludes it 


lllus. 43. — Oak Cradle, 1680 

Illus. 42. —Wicker Cradle, 1620. 

riental manufacture, having 
been brought 
f r o m Holland 
upon the May- 

BH flower^ with the 
H Pilgrims. 

The cradle in 
Illustration 43 is 
of more substan- 
tial build. It is 
of oak, and was 
made for John 
Cofiin, who was 
born in Newbury, 
January 8, 1680. 
Sergeant Stephen 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

Jaques, " who built the meeting house with great 
needles and little needles pointing downward," 
fashioned this cradle, whose worn rockers bear wit- 
ness to the many generations of babies who have 
slept within its sturdy frame. It is now in the 
rooms of the Newburyport Historical Society. 

Another wooden cradle is in Pilgrim Hall, made 
of oak and very similar, with the turned spindles at 

lllus. 44. — Bedstead and Commode. 1750. 

the sides of its wooden hood, to a cradle dated 1691, 
in the South Kensington Museum. 

" Cupboard bedsteads " and " presse bedsteads " 
are mentioned in the inventories. They were 
probably the same as the Dutch " slaw-bank," and 
when not in use they were fastened up against the 
wall in a closet made to fit the bed, and the closet 
doors were closed or curtains were drawn over 
the bedstead. There is a slaw-bank in the old 
Sumner house in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, built 
in 1797. 



Illustration 44 shows a curious bedstead made 
about 1750, when it was used by Dr. Samuel John- 
son, president of King's College, New York. It is 
now owned by his descendant, Mrs. Johnson- 
Hudson of Stratford, Connecticut. The slanting 
back of the bedstead is like the back of an early 

Illus. 45. — Field Bedstead. 1760-1770. 

Chippendale chair, and the effect is similar to that 
of the couches shown in Illustration 164 and Illustra- 
tion 165 ; but this piece was evidently intended for a 
bed, as it is considerably wider than the couches, 
which were " day beds." The wood of this bed- 
stead is mahogany. The commode which stands 

64 Furniture of the Olden Time 

beside the bed is of a slightly later date. It is also 
of mahogany, with massive brass handles. 

Illustration 45 shows a bedstead of about 1760- 
1770. It is what was called a field bed, the 
form of its top suggesting a tent. The frames 
for the canopy top were made in different shapes, 
but the one in the illustration was most common. 
The drapery is made of the netted fringe so much 
used in those days for edging bedspreads, curtains, 
and covers. This deep fringe was made especially 
for canopy tops for bedsteads. Its manufacture has 
been revived by several Arts and Crafts Societies. 
The slat-back chair is one of the rush-bottomed 
variety common during the eighteenth century. 
This room, with its wooden rafters, is in the 
Whipple house at Ipswich, built in 1650. 

The claw-and-ball foot bedstead in Illustration 46 
was a part of the wedding outfit of Martha Tufts, 
who was married in 1774, in Concord. It was then 
hung with the printed cotton draperies, hand spun 
and woven, which still hang from the tester, albeit 
much darned and quite dropping apart with age. 
The draperies are of a brownish color, possibly from 
age, but at all events they are now dingy and un- 
attractive, whatever they may have been in 1774. 
The posts above the cabriole legs are small and plain, 
and there is no headboard. The wood is mahogany. 
This bedstead is now owned by the Concord 
Antiquarian Society. Although Chippendale's de- 
signs do not show a bedstead with claw-and-ball feet, 
he probably did make such bedsteads, and this may 
be called Chippendale, as it belongs to that period. 

lllus. 46.— Claw-and-Ball Foot Bedstead, 1774. 



Illustration 47 shows a bedstead made from one 
of Hepplewhite's designs, about 1789. The lower 
posts are slender and fluted, and end in a square 
foot. The 
cornice is ja- 
panned atter 
the fashion 
which Hep- 
p 1 e w h i t e 
made so 
popular, and 
the style in 
which this 
bedstead is 
draped is ex- 
tremely at- 
tractive. It 
is at Indian 
Hill, the 
residejice of 
the late Ma- 
jor Ben Per- 
lev Poore. 

The four- 
po s t b e d- 

Steads ^ had Illus. 47. — Bedstead, i:-'. 

sometime s 

canvas stretched across the frame and laced with 
ropes, similar to the seat of the couch in Illustra- 
tion 165, and in other cases they were corded entirely 
with ropes. Mrs. Vanderbiltin her " Social History 
of Flatbush " thus describes the process of cording 

68 Furniture of the Olden Time 

a bed : "It required a man's strength to turn the 
machine that tightened the ropes, in cording these 
beds when they were put together. Some one was 
stationed at each post to keep it upright, while a man 
was exhausting his strength and perhaps his stock 
of patience and good temper, in getting the ropes 
sufficiently tight to suit the wife or mother. When 
the bedstead was duly corded and strung to the ten- 
sion required, then a straw bed in a case of brown 
home-made linen, was first placed over these cords, 
and upon this were piled feather beds to the number 
of three or four, and more if this was the spare-room 
bed." The height of the top one of these feather 
beds from the floor was so great that steps were re- 
quired to mount into it, and sets of mahogany steps 
are sometimes found now, which were made for this 

Illustration 48 shows one of the finest bedsteads 
known in this country. It is in the house of Charles 
R. Waters, Esq., of Salem. The two lower posts 
are exquisitely carved with garlands of flowers, and 
every detail is beautiful ; the upper posts are plain. 
The size of the posts is somewhat larger than during 
the previous years, and the style of the lower part 
with the fluted leg would place the date of the bed- 
stead about 1795-1 800, when the influence of Shera- 
ton was strong. The cornice is painted with flowers 
in colors, and the painted band is framed in gilt ; the 
ornaments at the corners, the basket with two doves, 
and the ropes and tassels are all of gilt. 

About 1800, when the Empire styles commenced 
to influence the makers of furniture, the posts of 

Illus. 48. — Bedstead. 1795-1800. 



bedsteads became larger, and they were more heavily 
carved, with acanthus leaves twining around the post, 
or a heavy twist or fluting, with pineapples at the 

Illustration 49 shows a bedstead at Indian Hill, 
with the heavy posts and tester, the lower posts be- 

lus. 49. — Bedstead, 1800-1810. 

ing fluted. The bedstead is draped on the sides and 
foot with curtains which could be let down at night 
in cold weather, thus shutting out the bitter draughts. 
The coverlid for this bed is made of linen, spun and 
woven by hand, and embroidered in shades of blue 
with a quaint design. The easy-chair at the foot of 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

the bed is covered with old chintz, printed in figures 
that would afford a child unlimited entertainment. 

A bedstead with massive twisted posts is shown in 
Illustration 50. The lower posts only are carved, 

as was usual, 
the draperies 
at the head 
of the bed 
cone eal ing 
the plain 
upper posts. 
posts were 
quite com- 
mon during 
the early 
years of the 
century, and 
more bed- 
posts are 
found that 
are carved in 
a twist than 
in any other 
design. The 
coverlid is 
similar to the 

one in Illustration 52. This bedstead stands in one 
of the panelled rooms of the Warner house in 

Illustration 51 shows a fine example of the four- 

Ulus. 50. — Bedstead, 1800-1810. 



post bedstead made from 1805 to 1810. It is un- 
usual in having all four posts carved, and for its 
splendid feet, 
which are 
carved in mas- 
s i V e lions' 
claws. Kach 
post is carved 
with festoons 
of draperv, and 
is surmounted 
with a pine- 
apple. The 
headboard is 
carved with a 
basket of fruit. 
This mahogany 
bedstead is 
owned by Mrs. 
E. A. Morse 
of Worcester. 

52 shows an- 
other bedstead 
with all four 

mahoganv posts carved in the acanthus leaf and 
pineapple design. Each post is finished at the top 
with a pineapple, and the bases are set into brass 
sockets. Upon the plain sections of the posts may 
be seen pressed brass ornaments, of which there are 
six, two for each lower post and one for each upper 

lllus. 51.— Bedstead, 1800-1810. 

RN tfe 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

one. These ornaments cover the holes through 
which the bed-screws are put in to hold the frame 

lllus. 52. — Bedstead, 1800-1810. 

together. There is a headboard of simple design 
upon this bedstead. The coverlid is an old, hand 
spun and woven, cotton one, with a design of stars 




in little cotton tufts. Such coverlids were made 
about 1815 to 1830, This bedstead is owned by 
the writer. 

Illustration ^2 shows a low-post mahogany bed- 
stead which is owned by Dr. S. B. Woodward of 
Worcester, having been inherited by him. It was 

lUus. 53.- — Low-post Bedstead, about 1825. 

made about 1825. The four posts are carved with 
the acanthus leaf, and both head and foot board are 
elaborately carved. It can be seen that the bed 
in this illustration is not so high from the floor as 
those of earlier date. The low French bedstead be- 
came fashionable soon after this time, and the high 

76 Furniture of the Olden Time 

four-poster was relegated to the attic, from which it 
has of late years been rescued, and set up, draped 
with all of its old-time hangings. 

Illustration 54 shows a low French bedstead, 
found in Canada and owned by George Corbett, 
Esq., of Worcester. The bedstead is made of 
finely grained old walnut, the rounding top of the 
head and foot boards and the face of the large 

lllus. 54.— Low Bedstead, about 1830. 

drawer under the foot board being veneered. This 
drawer may have been intended to use to keep 
blankets in. It has a little foot so that it remains 
firm when pulled out. At each side of the low bed 
is a carved shell, which slides out, showing a covered 
rest, perhaps for kneeling upon to pray. Both the 
head and foot boards are covered with canvas, which 
was probably, when the bedstead was new, about 
1830, covered with a rich brocade. All the lines of 

Bedsteads 77 

the bedstead are most graceful, and the carving is 
unusually well done. Plainer bedsteads in this style 
were made, veneered with mahoganv, and they are 
sometimes called sleigh beds, on account of their 
shape. These bedsteads were fashionable from i 830 
to 1850, when they were superseded by the black 
walnut bedsteads familiar to everybody. 





appear in Eng- 
lish inventories 
as early as 1344. 
Persons of rank in Eng- 
land had their cupboards 
surmounted by a set of 
shelves to display the 
silver and gold plate. 
Each shelf was narrower 
than the one beneath, 
like a set of steps, and 
the number of shelves 
indicated the rank of the 
owner, five being the 
greatest number, to be used by the king only. 

The first cupboard consisted of an open frame- 
work, a " borde " upon which to set cups, as the 
name implies. Later it was partially enclosed below, 
and this enclosed cupboard was used to hold valu- 
ables, or sometimes the food which was afterward 
distributed by the lady of the house. This was 
known as an almery or press cupboard, the former 


Illus. 55. — Oak Press Cupboard, 1640. 

Cupboards and Sideboards 8 1 

name corresponding to the French word armoire. 
The names " court cupboard " or " liverv cupboard " 
were used to designate a piece of furniture without an 
enclosed cupboard, low or short, as the French word 
court implies, and intended for a serving-table as the 
word " livery," from the French livrer, to deliver, 
indicates. In Europe such pieces were called dres- 

Cupboards abound in colonial inventories, under 
various names — "small cupboard," "great cup- 
board," "press cupboard," "wainscot cupboard," 
"court cupboard," "livery cupboard," "hanging 
cupboard," "sideboard cupboard." The cupboard 
formed an important part ot the furniture owned bv 
men of wealth and position in the colonies. 

These cupboards were generallv of oak, but those 
made in this countrv have the backs and bottoms 
of the cupboards and drawers of pine. The interior 
is similar in all, the lower cupboard usually having 
shelves, which seldom appear in the upper cup- 
board. Sometimes the lower part of the piece is 
divided into drawers for holding linen. 

Such a cupboard is shown in Illustration c^c^. 
This fine example is known as the " Putnam cup- 
board." It "is now owned bv the Essex Institute, 
of Salem, to which it was presented by Miss Harriet 
Putnam Fowler of Danvers, Massachusetts. It 
descended to her from John Putnam, who brought 
it from England about 1640. Upon the back may 
be seen marks of a fire which two hundred years 
ago destroyed the house in which the cupboard 
stood. The wood is English oak, and the mould- 

Furniture of the Olden Time 

ings used in the panelling are of cedar. The cup- 
board is in two parts, the upper section with the 

enclosed cup- 
board resting 
upon the lower 
section with its 
three drawers. 
panelled cup- 
board is shown 
in Illustration 
^6^ in which 
both the upper 
and lower parts 
are made with 
a recessed 
cupboard, en- 
closed, with a 
drawer below. 
The wood is 
oak, with the 
turned pieces 
painted black. 
This cupboard 
is in the house 
of Charles R. 
Waters, Esq., 
of Salem. Upon the top are displayed some good 
pieces of old glass. 

Many press cupboards were carved in designs 
similar to those upon the early chests. Illustra- 
tion 57 shows a carved press cupboard owned by 

lllus. 56. — Press Cupboard, about 1650. 


Cupboards and Sideboards 


Walter Hosmer, Esq., of Weathersfield. The wood 
is American oak and the cupboard was probably 
made in Connecticut, where there must have been 

Carved Press Cupboard, 

unusually good cabinet-makers during the last half 
of the seventeenth century, for many of the best 
oak chests and cupboards existing in this country 
were made in Connecticut. This cupboard is very 

84 Furniture of the Olden Time 

large, measuring five feet in height and four feet 
in width. 

All cupboards were provided with cupboard cloths 
or cushions, the latter probably made somewhat 
thicker than the simple cloth, by the use of several 
layers of goods or of stuffing. These cloths or 
cushions were placed on the top of the cupboard, to 
set the glass or silver upon, and the early inventories 
have frequent mention of them. By 1690 the press 
cupboard had gone out of fashion, and but few were 
made after 1700, although they continued to be 
used by those who already owned them. 

About 17 10 the corner cupboard made its ap- 
pearance, often under the name " beaufet " or " beau- 
fatt." It was generally built into the corner, and 
was finished to correspond with the panelling around 
the room. The lower part was closed by panelled 
doors, and the upper part had sometimes one glass 
door, sometimes two, opening in the middle ; but 
more often it was left without a door. The top of 
the beaufatt was usually made in the form of an apse, 
and in the finest specimens the apse was carved in a 
large shell. The shelves were not made to take 
up the entire space in the cupboard, but extended 
around the back, and were cut in curves and pro- 
jections, evidently to fit pieces of glass or china, for 
the display of which the beaufatt was built rather 
than to serve as a simple closet. A fine beaufatt is 
shown in Illustration 58, which is in the Deerfield 
Museum. From the construction of the pillars at 
the side it is evident that it was not intended to use 
a door to the upper part. 

Cupboards and Sideboards 


That there was some distinction between the 
corner cupboard and the beautatt would appear 
from the difference in their valuation in inventories, 
but what was the difference in their construction we 
do not know. 
Cupboards were 
made, during the 
latter part of 
the eighteenth 
centurv, of ma- 
hogany and other 
woods, and such 
corner cup- 
boards, made as 
a piece of furni- 
ture and not built 
into the house, 
were c o m m o n 
in the Southern 
States, about 
1800. The cor- 
ner cupboard, or 
b e a u f a 1 1, was 
both convenient 
and ornamental, 
taking up but 
little room and 
fillinfT what was 
otten an empty 
space. Our an- 
cestors frequent- 
ly utilized the Illus. 58. — Corner '• Beaufa... ....-1750. 

86 Furniture of the Olden Time 

large chimney also, by making the sides into small 
closets or cupboards, and occasionally a door with 
glass panes was set into the chimney above the 
mantel, with shelves behind it to hold glass or china. 

While the New England inventories speak of cup- 
boards, the word kas, or kasse, appears in Dutch in- 
ventories in New York. The kas was the Dutch 
cupboard, and was different in style from the 
cupboard in use in New England. It was of great 
size, and had large doors, behind which were wide 
shelves to hold linen. The kas was usually made 
in two parts, the upper one having two doors and 
a heavy cornice above. The lower part held a 
long drawer, and rested upon large ball feet. A pan- 
elled kas of somewhat different form is shown in 
Illustration 59, without the ball feet, and made in 
three parts ; the lower section with the drawer, the 
middle cupboard section, enclosed with large doors, 
and a second cupboard above that, the whole sur- 
mounted with a cornice. This kas is made of king- 
wood, a hard wood with a grain not unlike that of 
oak, but with darker markings. The bill of lading 
IS still preserved, dated 1701, when the kas, packed 
full of fine linen, was imported from Holland by the 
father of Dr. Samuel Johnson, president of King's 
College from 1754 to 1763. It is now owned by 
Dr. Johnson's descendant, Mrs. Johnson-Hudson 
of Stratford, Connecticut. 

Inventories during the latter years of the seven- 
teenth century speak of a " sideboard cupboard," 
" sideboard table," and " side table," but the side- 
board, in our acceptance of the word, dates to the 

Illus. 59. — Kas, 1700. 

Cupboards and Sideboards 


latter half of the eighteenth century. Chippendale 
designed no sideboards with drawers and compart- 
ments, but he did design side-tables, or sideboard 
tables, with marble or mahogany tops and carved 
frames. A Chippendale side -table is shown in Illus- 
tration 60. The wood is mahogany, and the frame 
is carved elaborately and beautifully in designs simi- 
lar to those o\ Chippendale and his contemporaries, 

-Chippendale Side-table, about 1755. 

which abound in flowers, birds, and shells. The 
cabriole legs end in massive lions' claws. This 
splendid table is five feet long and thirtv-one inches 
deep, and the original top was of marble. It is 
owned by Harry Harkness Flagler, Esq., of Mill- 
brook, New York. 

The earliest mention of a sideboard, the descrip- 
tion of which implies a form of construction similar 
to that of the later sideboard, is in 1746, when an 
advertisement in a London newspaper speaks of 

90 Furniture of the Olden Time 

" a Large marble Sideboard Table with Lavatory 
and Bottle Cistern." Chippendale's designs, pub- 
lished in 1753 and 1760, contain nothing answering 
to this description, and both he and other cabinet- 
makers of that period give drawings of side-tables 
only, without even a drawer beneath. Such a side- 
board as this advertisement of 1746 mentions, may 
have given the idea from which, forty years later, 
was developed the sideboard of mahogany, often in- 
laid, with slender legs and curved front, which is 
shown in the majority of antique shops as " Chip- 
pendale," while the heavy veneered sideboard, with 
claw feet and compartments extending nearly to the 
floor, made after 1 800, goes under the name of 
"Colonial." One name is as incorrect as the other. 
Thomas Shearer, an English cabinet-maker, designed 
the first of the slender-legged sideboards, and they 
appear in his drawings published in 1788. Hepple- 
white's book, published in 1789, gave similar draw- 
ings, as did Sheraton's in 1791, and these three 
cabinet-makers designed the sideboards which were 
so fashionable from 1789 to 1805. The majority 
which are found in this country were probably made 
here, but one is shown in Illustration 61, which has 
a most romantic history of travel and adventure. 
It is in the half-circle shape which was Shearer's 
favorite design, and was probably of English make, 
although it was brought from France to America. 

In 1792 the ship Sally^ consigned to Colonel 
Swan, sailed from France, laden with rich furniture, 
tapestries, robes, evervthing gathered together in 
Paris which might have belonged to a royal lady. 

Cupboards and Sideboards. 


The Sally came to Wiscassett, Maine, and the story 
told "down East" is that there was a plot to rescue 
Marie Antoinette, and the Sally was laden for that 

lUus. 61. — Shearer Sideboard and Knife-box 

purpose; and that a house had been built in a 
Maine seaport for the queen, whose execution put 
an end to the plot, and sent the Sally off to America 
with her rich cargo. I cannot help thinking that if 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

the story be true, Marie Antoinette was spared many 
weary days of discontent and homesickness ; for the 
temperament of the unfortunate queen, luxury lov- 
ing, gay, and heedless, does not fit into the life of 
a little Maine seaport town one hundred years ago. 
When the Sally arrived, her cargo of beautiful things 
was sold. Legends of Marie Antoinette furniture 
crop up all around the towns in the neighborhood 
of Wiscassett, but, singularly enough, I have been 
unable to trace a single piece in Maine except this 
sideboard. Miss Elizabeth Bartol of Boston, whose 
mother was a granddaughter of Colonel Swan, owns 
several pieces. Colonel Swan's son married the 
daughter of General Knox and took the sideboard 
with him to General Knox's home in Thomaston, 
Maine, where it remained for many years. 

The sideboard is made of oak (showing its English 
origin) veneered with mahogany. The lines upon 
the front and the figures upon the legs are inlaid 
in satinwood, and the knife-box is inlaid in the same 
wood. The top of the sideboard is elaborately in- 
laid with satinwood and dark mahogany, in wide 
bands, separated by lines of ebony and satinwood, 
and crossed by fine satinwood lines radiating from 
the centre. The handles and escutcheons are of 
silver, and the top of the knife-box is covered by a 
silver tray with a reticulated railing. The coffee- 
urn is of Sheffield plate, and the sideboard with its 
appurtenances appears to-day as it did one hundred 
years ago in the house of General Knox. It is now 
owned by the Hon. James Phinney Baxter of Port- 
land, Maine. 

Cupboards and Sideboards 


Knife-boxes were made of different shapes, to 
hold knives, forks, and spoons, and a pair of knife- 
boxes was the usual accompaniment to a handsome 
sideboard. The most skilled cabinet-makers were 
employed in their manufacture, as each curved sec- 
tion had to be fitted most carefully. 

Illustration 62 shows an urn-shaped knife-box of 
mahogany inlaid in lines of holly. The interior of 
the box is filled with two circular travs 
of different heights, and through the 
little openings in these trays the 
knives and spoons were suspended. 
The top rests upon a wooden rod 
extending through the middle of the 
box, and instead of opening with a 
hinge, it is raised with this rod, which, 
when it has reached a certain height, 
releases a spring which holds the rod 
there. The usual shape in which 
knife-boxes were made is shown in 
Illustration 63. One is also shown 
upon the sideboard in Illustration 67. iiius. 62. — Um- 

Mahogany was the wood chiefly box^'f79o."'^'" 
used in sideboards, with inlavings of 
satinwood, holly, king, tulip, snake, zebra, yew, 
maple, and other woods. Occasionally one finds 
a sideboard veneered with walnut. The curves at 
the front vary considerablv, the ends being convex, 
and the centre straight ; or the ends concave, form- 
ing with the centre a double curve. A sideboard 
with rounded ends and onlv four legs was made in 
large numbers around Philadelphia. 

94 Furniture of the Olden Time 

Illustration 61^ shows a Hepplewhite sideboard 
owned by the writer. It is of mahogany veneered 
upon pine, and it was probably the work of a Con- 
necticut cabinet-maker of about 1790. Six chairs, 
made to go with the sideboard, are similarly inlaid, 
and the knife-boxes, which have always stood upon 
this sideboard, have fine lines of inlaying. There is 
one central long drawer, beneath which, slightly 
recessed, are doors opening into a cupboard, and 
two bottle drawers, each fitted with compartments 
to hold four bottles. There is a cupboard at each 
curved end, with a drawer above. The coloring of 
the wood used in this sideboard is very beautiful. 
Each drawer and door is veneered with a bright red 
mahogany, with golden markings in the grain, and 
this is framed in dark mahogany, outlined in two 
lines of satinwood with an ebony line between. The 
oval pieces above the legs and the bell-flower design 
upon the legs are of satinwood. The combination 
of the different shades of mahogany with the light 
satinwood is most effective. The handles are new. 
When this sideboard came into the possession of 
the writer, the old handles had been removed and 
large and offensive ones of pressed brass had been 
fastened upon every available spot, with that love 
for the showy which seizes upon country people 
when they attempt the process known as " doing 
over." The lids of the knife-boxes open back with 
hinges, and the interior is fitted with a slanting tray, 
perforated with openings of different shapes to hold 
knives, with the handles up, and spoons with the 
bowls up. A fine line of inlaying goes round each 

Cupboards and Sideboards oy 

of the openings. The handles and escutcheons of 
the knife-boxes are of silver. Upon the top of the 
sideboard are several pieces of-Sheffield plate. At 
each end is a double coaster upon wheels, with a 
long handle. Another double coaster, somewhat 
higher and with reticulated sides, stands beside the 
coffee-urn, and two single coasters are in front. All 
of these coasters have wooden bottoms, and were 
used to hold wine decanters, the double coasters 
upon wheels having been designed, so the story goes, 
by Washington, for convenience in circulating the 
wine around the table. 

Illustration 64 shows a Hepplewhite sideboard 
with a serpentine front, the doors to the side cup- 
boards being concave, as well as the space usually 
occupied by bottle drawers, while the small cupboard 
doors in the middle are convex. A long rounding 
drawer extends across the centre and projects beyond 
the cupboard below it, while a slide pulls out, form- 
ing a shelf, between the long drawer and the small 
cupboard. There are no bottle drawers in this side- 
board. The doors are inlaid with a fan at each 
corner, and fine lines of holly are inlaid around the 
legs, doors, and drawer. The silver pieces upon the 
sideboard top are family heirlooms. The large tea- 
caddies at each end are of pewter finely engjaved. 
This sideboard is owned by Francis H. Bigelow, 
Esq., of Cambridge. 

A charming little sideboard owned by Mr. Big- 
elow is shown in Illustration 6^. The ordinary 
measurements of sideboards like the last two shown 
are six feet in length, forty inches in height, and 

^8 Furniture of the Olden Time 

twenty-eight inches in depth. These measures, with 
shght variations, give the average size of Hepple- 
white sideboards. Occasionally one finds a small 
piece like Illustration 65, evidently made to fit some 
space. This sideboard measures fifty-four inches in 

Illus. 64. — Hepplewhite Serpentine-front Sideboard, 1790. 

length, thirtv-four in height, and twenty-three In 
depth. It has no cupboard, the space below the 
slightly rounding drawer in the centre being left 
open. There are fine lines and fans of inlaying m 
satinwood, and in the centre of the middle drawer 
is an oval inlay with an urn in colored woods. The 
handles are not original, and should be of pressed 

Cupboards and Sideboards 


brass, oval or round. The silver service upon the 
sideboard is of French plate, made about 1845, ^"'i 
is of unusually graceful and elegant design. 

Hepplewhite's sideboards seldom had fluted legs, 
which seem to have been a specialty of Sheraton, 
though the latter used the square leg as well. A 
feature in some of Sheraton's designs for sideboards 


lllus. 65. — Hepplewhite Sideboard, about 1795. 

was the brass railing at the back, often made in an 
elaborate design. 

Illustration 66 shows a Sheraton sideboard, or side- 
table, with brass rods extending across the back, and 
branches tor candles at each end. This railing was 
designed to support the plates which were stood at 
the back of the sideboard, and also to keep the lids 
of knife and spoon boxes from falling back against 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

the wall. The branches for candles were recom- 
mended for the light which the candles would throw 
upon the silver. This side-table is very large, meas- 
uring six feet eight inches in length, thirty inches in 
depth, and thirty-eight from the floor to the top of 
the table. The wood is mahogany, inlaid with satin- 

lUus. 66. — Sheraton Side-table. 1795. 

wood. It is unusual to find such a piece in this 
country, and this is the only example of an old 
Sheraton side-table or sideboard with the brass rail- 
mg which I have ever seen here. It is owned by 
John C. Maclnnes, Esq., of Worcester, and it was 
inherited by him from a Scotch ancestor. 

A sideboard of distinctly Sheraton design is shown 

Cupboards and Sideboards 


in Illustration 67. It has the fluted legs which are 
the almost unmistakable mark of Sheraton. The 
ends of this sideboard are straight, and only the front 
is rounding in shape, unlike the sideboard in lllus- 

Illus. 67. — Sheraton Sideboard with Knife-box. 1795. 

tration 61, which forms a complete semicircle. The 
wood is of mahogany, inlaid with fine lines of holly. 
The little shield-shaped escutcheons at the keyholes 
are of ivory. There are three drawers above the 
cupboards and two bottle drawers. Upon the top, 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

at each end, is a wine-cooler of Sheffield plate, and 
in the centre is a mahogany inlaid knife-box similar to 
the pair in Illustration 6^. This sideboard is owned 
by Dwight Blaney, Esq., of Boston. 

A Sheraton sideboard of later date is shown in 
Illustration 68. It is of mahogany, and was prob- 

Illus. 68. — Sheraton Sideboard, about 1800. 

ably made about 1 8oo. The arched open space in 
the middle was left for the cellaret, which was the 
usual accompaniment of the sideboard in those days 
of hard drinking. The top of this sideboard is sur- 
mounted by drawers, with a back above the drawers. 

Cupboards and Sideboards 


The legs and the columns above them are fluted, and 
the little columns at the corners of the upper drawers 
are carved, the inner ones with a sheaf of wheat, and 
the two outside corners with the acanthus leaf This 
sideboard was formerly owned bv Rejoice Newton, 
Esq., of Worcester, from whom it has descended to 
Waldo Lincoln, Esq., of Worcester. 

Dlus. 69. — Cellarets, 1790. 

Cellarets were made as a part of the dining-room 
furniture. They were lined with zinc, to hold the 
ice in which the wine bottles were packed to cool, 
and at the lower edge of the body of the cellaret was 
a faucet, or some arrangement by which the water 
from the melted ice could be drawn off. They were 
designed by Chippendale and all of his contempo- 

I04 Furniture of the Olden Time 

raries and by the later cabinet-makers, — Adam, 
Hepplewhite, and Sheraton. 

Illustration 69 shows two cellarets of different 
styles. The cellaret of octagonal shape, brass bound, 
with straight legs, is of the style most commonly 
found. It is in the Poore collection, at Indian Hill, 
Cellarets of this shape figure in books of designs 
from 1760 to 1800, The other is oval in form, and 
has the leg usually attributed to the Adam brothers. 
This cellaret belongs to Francis H. Bigelow, Esq., 
of Cambridge. Both cellarets are of mahogany. 

We now come to sideboards of the tvpe called 
" Colonial " ; why, it would be difficult to trace, 
since sideboards of this heavy design were not made 
until over twenty-five years after the time that the 
United States took the place of the American 

The heavy Empire fashions gained such popularity 
in the early vears of the nineteenth century that 
furniture made after those fashions entirely super- 
seded the graceful slender-legged styles of Shearer, 
Hepplewhite, and Sheraton, and sideboards were made 
as heavy and clumsy as the others had been light 
and graceful. The cupboards were extended nearly 
to the floor, from which the sideboard was lifted by 
balls or by large carved bears' feet. Round pillars, 
veneered, or carved similar to bedposts of the 
period, with a twist, or the pineapple and acanthus 
leaf, were used upon the front, and small drawers 
were added to the top. At about this time glass 
handles came into fashion, and many of these heavy 
sideboards have knobs of glass, either clear or opal- 

Cupboards and Sideboards 


escent. The brass handles that were used were 
either the rosette and ring or the knob shape. 

Illustration 70 shows a sideboard of this period, 
1810-1820, made of mahogany; the panels to the 
doors, the veneered pillars, and the piece at the 
back ot the top, being of a lighter and more finely 

Illus. 70. — Sideboard, 1810-1820. 

marked mahogany than the rest, which is quite dark. 
There is a little panel inlaid in colors upon the lower 
rail in the centre. The handles are the rosette and 
ring, the smaller handles matching the large ones. 
This sideboard belonged to the late Colonel DeWitt 
of Oxford, Massachusetts, and it is now owned by 
W. S. G. Kennedy, Esq., of Worcester. 



J~^ROM 1644 to 
#-y about 1670 desks 
^ appear in colonial 

inventories. Dur- 
ing those years the word 
" desk " meant a box, 
which was often made 
with a sloping lid for 
convenience in writing, 
or to rest a book upon 
in reading. This box 
was also used to hold 
writing-materials and pa- 
pers or books, and was 
sometimes called a Bible- 
box, from the fact that 
the Bible was kept in it. Illustration 71 shows 
two of these desks from the collection of Charles 
R. Waters, Esq., of Salem. The larger desk is 
twenty inches in length and thirteen and one-half 
in height, and formerly had a narrow shelf in the 
inside across the back. The front is carved with 
the initials A. W. and the date 1654. The smaller 
desk measures thirteen and one-half inches in length 
and eight in height. 




The desk with flat top in Illustration 72 is also 
in the Waters collection. It measures twenty-six 
inches in length by seventeen in width. It is 

lllus. 71. — Desk-boxes. 1654. 

made of oak, like the smal'er desk in the preceding 

The next style of desk made its appearance in the 
inventories of about 1660, under a name with French 
derivation: "scrutoir," "scriptor," "scrittore," "scru- 
tor," " scriptoire," , 
down to the phoneti- 
cally spelled " screw- 
tor." About 1720 
the word " bureau," 
also from the French, 
came into use in com- 
bination with the word " desk," or " table." It has 
continued to be employed up to the present time, 
for the slant-top desk is even now, in country towns, 
called a bureau-desk. As the word " desk " seems 
to have been more or less in use through these early 

Illus. 72. — Desk-box. 1650. 

io8 Furniture of the Olden Time 

years, while for the last hundred years it has been 
almost entirely employed, alone or in combination 
with other words, I have designated as desks all 
pieces of furniture made for use in writing. 

Illus. 73. — Desk, 1710-1720. 

Illustration 73 shows a desk owned by Miss 
Gage, of Worcester, of rather rude construction, and 
apparently not made by a skilled cabinet-maker. It 
has two long drawers with two short drawers above 
them. The space above these two short drawers is 
reached from an opening or well with a slide, directly 
in front of the small drawers of the interior, which 

Desks 109 

may be seen in the illustration. The pillars at each 
side of the middle compartment pull out as drawers. 
The handles are new, and should be drop handles, 
or early stamped ones. The characteristics which 
determine the date of this desk are the single mould- 
ing around the drawers, the two short drawers, and 
the well opening with a slide. The bracket feet 
would indicate a few years' later date than that of 
similar pieces with ball feet. 

During the first half of the eighteenth century 
slant-top desks appeared with a bookcase or cabinet 
top. The lower or desk part was made usually with 
a moulding around the top, into which the upper 
part was set. The doors were of panelled wood or 
had looking-glasses set in them, but occasionally they 
were of glass. 

The frontispiece shows an extraordinary piece of 
furniture owned by Samuel Verplanck, Ksq., of Fish- 
kill, New York. It has belonged in the family of 
Mr. Verplanck since 1753, when it was bought by 
an ancestor, Governor James de Lancev, at an auc- 
tion sale of the effects of Sir Danvers Osborne, who 
was governor of the Province of New York for the 
space of five days, as he landed at Whitehall Slip, 
New York, from the good ship Arundel on Friday, 
and the following Wednesday he committed suicide. 
Sir Danvers had brought his household goods with 
him upon the Arundel^ and among them was this 

Lacquered furniture was fashionable during the 
first quarter of the eighteenth century, and while the 
first lacquered pieces came through Holland, by 1712 

no Furniture of the Olden Time 

" Japan work " was so popular, even in the American 
colonies, that an advertisement of Mr. Nehemiah 
Partridge appeared in a Boston paper of that year, 
that he would do "all sorts of Japan work." 

The wood of this secretary is oak, and the entire 
piece is covered with lacquer in brilliant red, blue, 
and gold. The upper part, or cabinet, has doors 
which are lacquered on the inside, with looking- 
glasses on the outside. A looking-glass is also set 
into the middle of the top. These glasses are all 
the original ones and are of heavy plate with the old 
bevel upon the edges. Above the compartments, 
and fitting into the two arches of the top are semi- 
circular-shaped flap doors, which open downward. 
Between these and the pigeonholes are two shallow 
drawers extending across the cabinet. The middle 
compartment has two doors with vases of flowers 
lacquered upon them, and there is a drawer above, 
while the spaces each side of the doors are occupied 
by drawers. The slides for candlesticks are gone, 
but the slits show where they were originallv. The 
lower or desk part is divided by a moulding which 
runs around it above the three lower drawers, and 
the space between this and the writing-table is taken 
by two short drawers, but it has no well with a slide 
like the desk in Illustration 73. The arrangement 
of the small drawers and compartments is the same 
as in the desk in Illustration 73, and the lacquered 
pillars form the fronts of drawers which pull out, 
each side of the middle compartment, which has 
upon its door a jaunty little gentleman in European 
costume of the period. The moulding upon the 


1 1 1 

frame around the drawers and the two short upper 
drawers would place the date of this piece early in 
the eighteenth century. The first thought upon 
seeing the feet of the desk, is that they were origi- 
nally brackets which were sawed off and the large 
ball feet added, 
but it must have 
been made origi- 
nally as it now 
stands, for both 
the brackets and 
the balls under 
them are lac- 
quered with the 
old "Japan work " 
like the rest of 
the secretary. 

A style of desk 
of a somewhat 
later date is occa- 
sionally found, 
generally made of 
maple. Its form 
and proportions 
are similar to 

, r 1 1 Illus. /4. — CabrioIe-le^ged Desk, 1720-1730. 

those or a low-boy 

with the Dutch bandy-leg and foot, and a desk top, 
the slanting lid of which lets down tor use in writing. 
The top sets into a moulding around the edge of 
the lower part, in the same manner as the top part 
of a high-boy is set upon its base. Illustration 74 
shows a desk ot this style in the building of the 

I 12 

Furniture of the Olden Time 

Pennsylvania Historical Society, labelled as having 
belonged to William Penn, but which is of a later 
date than that would imply, as it was made from 
1720 to 1730, while Penn left this country in 1701, 
never to return to it. 

The mahogany desk shown in Illustration 75 
belongs to Walter Hosmer, Esq., and is a most 

graceful and charming 
little piece, intended 
probably for a lady's 
use. It measures 
twenty - four and a 
half inches in length 
and forty-one and a 
half inches in height. 
There are three square 
drawers in the lower 
part, and the upper 
part has two small 
square drawers for 
pens, with a third be- 
tween them. The 
two pen drawers pull 
out and support the 
lid when lowered. 
The interior of the 
desk has eighteen small drawers, shaped and placed 
so that their fronts form a curve, and each little 
drawer at the top is carved with the rising sun, or 
fan, like the middle drawer in the lower part. The 
entire design of the interior is like that in a large 
block-front desk now owned by George S. Palmer, 

lUus. 75. — Cabriole-legged Desk, 1760. 



Esq., of Norwich, which was made by Benjamin 
Dunham in 1769, and it is possible that the two 
pieces were made by the same Connecticut cabinet- 

Another desk belonging to Mr. Hosmer is shown 
in Illustration 76. The bandy-legs end in a claw- 
and-ball of a flattened shape, and instead of the 
drawer, plain or 
with a carved sun- 
burst, usually seen 
between the side __ 
drawers of the lower 
part, the wood of 
the frame is sawed 
in a simple design. 
The upper part 
has three drawers, 
and the lid when 
down rests upon 
two slides which 
pull out for the 
purpose. The in- 
terior is quite sim- 
ple, having tour 
drawers with eight small compartments above. This 
desk measures twenty-six inches in width and thirty- 
nine inches and a halt in height. 

The desk in Illustration 77 is now owned by the 
American Antiquarian Society of Worcester, and 
belonged formerly to Governor John Hancock. It 
measures four feet six inches from the floor, and is 
of the sturdy, honest build that one would expect 

Illus. 76. — Desk. 1760. 




Furniture of the Olden Time 

in a desk used by the man whose signature to the 
Declaration of Independence stands out so fearless 
and determined. The slanting lid has a moulding 
across the lower edge, probably to support a large 

Illus. 77. — Desk, about 1770. 

book, or ledger, and as it is at the right height for a 
man to write standing, or sitting upon a very high 
stool, it may have been used as an office desk. Be- 
low the slanting lid are two doors behind which are 



shelves. Two 
drawers extend 
across the lower 
part, and at each 
end of the desk 
two small, long 
drawers pull out. 
The desk was 
made about 1770. 
Illustration 78 
shows a mahog- 
any block - front 
desk with cabinet 
top, owned bv 
Charles R. Wa- 
ters, Esq., of Sa- 
lem, which was 
bought by Mr. 
Waters's grand- 
father, about 
1770. It is a fine 
example of the 
best style of sec- 
retary made dur- 
ing the eighteenth 
century. The 
doors are of pan- 
elled wood. The lid of the desk is blocked like the 
front, and like the lid of the desk in Illustration 81, 
requiring for the blocked lid and drawer fronts wood 
from two to three inches thick, as each front is 
carved from one thick plank. 

lllus. 78. — Block-front Desk. Cabi- 
net Top. about 1770. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

Illus. 79. — Block-front Desk, about 1770 

Illustration 79 shows a block-front mahogany 
desk, owned l3y Francis H. Bigelow, Esq., of 
Cambridge. It formerly belonged to Dr. John 
Snelling Popkin, who was Professor of Greek at 
Harvard University from 1826 to 1833, and prob- 
ably descended to him, as it was made about 1770. 
The legs, with claw-and-Ball feet, are blocked like 
the drawers, as was<»u?lml in block-front pieces, an- 
other feature of which is the moulding upon the 
frame around the drawers. 

In all the desks shown, the pillars at each side of 
the middle door in the interior pull out as drawers. 
These were supposed to be secret drawers. Often 

Ulus. 80. — Desk with Cabinet Top, about 1770. 

Desks 119 

the little arched pieces above the pigeonholes are 
drawer fronts. The middle compartment is some- 
times a drawer, or if it has a door, behind this door 
is a drawer which, when taken entirely out, proves 
to have a secret drawer opening from its back. 
Occasionallv an opening to a secret compartment is 
found in the back of the desk. All these were de- 
signed at a time when banks and deposit companies 
did not abound, and the compartments were doubt- 
less utilized to hold papers and securities of value. 
There are traditions ot wills being discovered in these 
secret compartments, and novelists have found them 
of great convenience in the construction of plots. 

The secretary in Illustration 80 is an extraordi- 
narilv fine piece. It is of mahoganv, and tradition 
says that it was brought from Holland, but it is dis- 
tinctly a Chippendale piece, from the fine carving 
upon the feet and above the doors, and from the 
fluted columns with exquisitely carved capitals. There 
are five of these columns, — three in front and one 
upon each side, at the back. The doors hold look- 
ing-glasses, the shape of which, straight at the bot- 
tom and in curves at the top, is that of the early 
looking-glasses. The two semicircular, concave 
spaces in the interior above the cabinet are lacquered 
in black and gold. 

The middle compartment in the desk, between the 
pigeonholes, has a door, behind which is a large 
drawer. When this drawer is pulled entirely out, 
at its back mav be seen small drawers, and upon 
taking out one of these and pressing a spring, secret 
compartments are disclosed. 

I20 Furniture of the Olden Time 

Dr. Holmes, in "The Professor at the Breakfast 
Table," has written of this secretary thus : — 

" At the house of a friend where I once passed a 
night, was one of those stately, upright cabinet desks 
and cases of drawers which were not rare in prosper- 
ous families during the past century [i.e. the eigh- 
teenth]. "It had held the clothes and the books 
and papers of generation after generation. The 
hands that opened its drawers had grown withered, 
shrivelled, and at last had been folded in death. 
The children that played with the lower handles had 
got tall enough to open the desk, — to reach the 
upper shelves behind the folding doors, — grown 
bent after a while, — and followed those who had 
gone before, and left the old cabinet to be ransacked 
by a new generation. 

" A boy of twelve was looking at it a few years 
ago, and, being a quick-witted fellow, saw that all 
the space was not accounted for by the smaller 
drawers in the part beneath the lid of the desk. 
Prying about with busy eyes and fingers, he at 
length came upon a spring, on pressing which, a 
secret drawer flew from its hiding-place. It had 
never been opened but by the maker. The mahog- 
any shavings and dust were lying in it, as when the 
artisan closed it, and when I saw it, it was as fresh as 
if that day finished. 

" Is there not one little drawer in your soul, my 
sweet reader, which no hand but yours has ever 
opened, and which none that have known you 
seemed to have suspected ? What does it hold .'' 
A sin ? I hope not." 



The " quick-witted boy, with busy eyes and fin- 
gers," was the present owner of the secretary, the 
Rev. William R. Huntington, D.D., of Grace 
Church, New York, and since Dr. Holmes wrote of 
the secretary, new generations have grown up to 

Illus. 8 1 .— Block-front Desk, about 1770. 

reach the handles of the drawers and to ransack the 
old cabinet. 

The middle ornament upon the top was gone 
many years ago, but Dr. Huntington remembers, 
as a bov with his brother, playing with the two end 
figures which, it is not astonishing to relate, have 
not been seen since those years. The figures were 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

carved from wood, of men at work at their trade of 
cabinet-making, and the boys who were given the 
carved figures for toys played that the little work- 
men were the ones who made the secretary. The 
great handles upon the sides are large and heavy 
enough for the purpose for which they were in- 
tended, to lift the massive piece of furniture. 

lllus. 82. — Block-front Writing-table. 1760-1770. 

The block-front mahogany desk in Illustration 
8 1 shows the blocked slanting lid. The brasses are 
original and are unusually large and fine. This 
desk belongs to Dwight Blaney, Esq., of Boston. 

Illustration 82 shows a beautiful little piece of 
furniture, modelled after what Chippendale calls a 
writing-table or a bureau table, by the latter term 
meaning a bureau desk with a flat top. The same 



unusually fine shells are carved upon this as upon 

the double chest of drawers in Illustration 18, and 

upon the low chest of 

drawers in Illustration 

25. In the inside of 

one of the drawers of 

this writing-table is 

written in a quaint old 

hand a name which is 

illegible, and " New- 


R.L, 176-," the 

final figure of the date 
not being sufficiently 
plain to determine it. 
Desks, secretaries, and 
chests of drawers have 
been found with block 
fronts and these fine 
shells. All were origi- 
nally owned in Rhode 
Island or near there, 
and nearly all can be 
traced back to New- 
port, probably to the 
same cabinet-maker. 
This writing-table was 
bought in 1901 from 
the heirs of Miss Re- 
becca Shaw of Wick- 
ford, Rhode Island. 

Illus. 83. — Serpentine-front Desk. 
Cabinet Top, 1770. 

Miss Shaw died in 1900 at 
over ninety years of age. The writing-table is now 
owned by Harry Harkness Flagler, Esq., of Mill- 

124 Furniture of the Olden Time 

brook, New York. It measures thirty-four inches 
in height and thirty-six and three-quarters inches in 
length. A door with a shell carved upon it opens 

Illus. 84. — Serpentine or Bow-front Desk, about 1770. 

into a recessed cupboard. A writing-table like this 
is in the Pendleton collection, also found in Rhode 

Illustration 83 shows a desk with cabinet top and 
serpentine or ox-bow front. It is made of English 
walnut of a fine golden hue which has never been 
stained or darkened. The doors are of panelled 
wood, with fluted columns at each side. It was 

Desks 127 

owned in the Bannister family of Newburyport un- 
til 1870, when it was given to the Newburyport 
Library. It now stands in the old Prince mansion, 
occupied by the Library. 

Illustration 84 shows a mahogany desk with ser- 
pentine front and claw-and-ball feet, owned by Mrs. 
Alice Morse Earle, of Brooklyn. The serpentine 
drawers of this piece and the one preceding are 
carved from a solid block, not quite so thick as is 
necessary for the block-front drawers. This desk 
was made at about the same time as the secretary in 
the last illustration. 

The bill of lading in Illustration 85 is preserved 
in the house known as the "Warner House," in 
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, built by Archibald 
Macphaedris, a member of the King's Council. It 
was commenced in 171 2, and occupied in 17 16, but 
not finished until 1718. Mr. Macphaedris died in 
1729, and his widow, upon her second marriage, 
gave the house to her daughter, married then to 
Colonel Jonathan Warner, and the house has re- 
mained ever since in the possession of their descen- 

The rooms are panelled, and are filled with the 
furniture bought by successive generations. Upon 
the walls hang Copley portraits of Colonel Warner 
and his wife and her haughty mother, Mrs. Mac- 
phaedris (who was a daughter of Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor Wentworth), and of Colonel Warner's young 
daughter Mary, in her straight little stays, which 
are still preserved, along with the garments, stiff 
with gold embroideries, which Colonel Warner and 

128 Furniture of the Olden Time 

his wife wore upon state occasions. A number of 
the illustrations for this book were taken in the 
Warner house, which is one of the best-preserved 
old houses in the country, and which, with its fur- 
nishings and decorations, presents an unusually good 
picture of the home of the wealthy colonist. 

The quaint wording of this bill of lading, and the 
list of furniture mentioned, make it interesting in 
this connection, but none of the pieces of that date 
remain in the house, which was evidently refurnished 
with great elegance, after 1760, when the old furni- 
ture was probably discarded as "old-fashioned." 

Illustration 86 shows a bookcase built into the 
Warner house. It is made of mahogany, and stands 
in every particular exactly as it was originally made. 
The bill of lading of 1716, shown in Illustration 85, 
mentions a bookcase, but this bookcase is of later 
date, and was probably bought by Colonel Warner 
for his daughter, as the books in the case are all 
bound alike in a golden brown leather, with gilt 
tooling, and each book has " Miss. Warner " stamped 
in gilt letters upon the cover. The books are the 
standard works of that time, — Shakespeare, Milton, 
Spenser, "The Spectator," Fox's " Book of Martyrs," 
and all the books which a wealthy man of those days 
would buy to furnish a library. The dates of the 
editions vary from 1750 to 1765, so the latter date 
may be given to this bookcase. It was once entirely 
filled with "Miss. Warner's" books, but early in 
the nineteenth century, during a great fire in Ports- 
mouth, the books were removed for safety, and all 
were not brought back. 



lllus. 86. — Bookcase and Desk, about 1765. 

At the top of the bookcase is a row of Chinese 
fretwork, which, together with the massive handles, 
would also place its date about 1765. The case is 
divided into three sections, the sides of the lower 
part being devoted to drawers. The lower middle 
section has four drawers, above which is a wide flap 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

which lets down, disclosing a writing-desk with pigeon- 
holes and drawers. 

After the publication of the designs of Shearer, 
Hepplewhite, and Sheraton, the heavy desks were 
superseded by those of lighter design, and the slant- 

Illus. 87 

top bureau dmW -^as 

Maple Desk, about 1795. 

s seldom made after 


Sheraton says r-'" Bureau in France is a small chest 
of drawers. It has generally been applied to com- 
mon desks with drawers made under them. These 
pieces of furniture are nearly obsolete in London." 
Slant-top desks do not appear in cabinet-makers' 



METRO fir 

Illus. 88. — Hepplewhite Desk, Cabinet Top, 1790. 

Desks 133 

books published after 1800, and it is safe to assign 
a date previous to the nineteenth century to any 
such desk. 

IHustration 87 shows the latest type of a slant- 
top desk, made in 1790-1795. The frame is of 
maple, the drawers being ot curly maple edged with 
ebonv. The lid is of curly maple framed in bird's- 
eye maple with ebony lines, and in the centre is a 
star made of mahogany and ebony. The small 
drawers inside are of bird's-eye maple, three of the 
drawers having an ebony and mahogany star. The 
base is what Hepplewhite calls a French base, and 
the desk, which measures only thirty-six inches in 
length, is a good example of the artistic use of the 
different varieties of maple with their golden hues. 
This desk belongs to the writer. 

Illustration 88 shows a Hepplewhite desk with 
cabinet top owned by the writer, and made about 
1790. The drawers are veneered with satinwood, 
with a row of fine inlaying of holly and ebony around 
each drawer front. The base is after Hepplewhite's 
design, and has a row of ebony and holly inlaying 
across it. The slightly slanting lid turns back and 
rests upon two pulls to form a writing-table. The 
pigeonholes and small drawers are behind the glass 
doors, which are made like two Gothic arches, with 
three little pillars, and panels of satinwood between 
the bases of the pillars. The pediment at the top 
of the cabinet is quite characteristic of the period. 

Illustration 89 shows a charming little Sheraton 
desk owned by W. S. G. Kennedy, Esq., of Worces- 
ter. It is made of bird's-eye maple with trimming 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

of mahogany veneer, and a row of ebony and holly 
inlaying below the drawers. The upper part has 
one maple door in the centre, with a tambour door 

Illus. 89. — Sheraton Desk, 1795. 

of mahogany at each side, behind which are pigeon- 
holes and small drawers. The lid shuts back upon 
itself, and, when open, rests upon the two pulls at 
each side of the upper drawer. The wood of this 



desk is beautifully marked, and the whole effect is 
very light and well adapted to a lady's use. 

The word 
"tambour" is 
thus defined by 
Sheraton : "Tam- 
bour tables among 
are of two sorts ; 
one for a lady or 
gentleman to 
write at, and an- 
other for the for- 
mer to execute 
needlework bv. 
The Writing 
Tambour Tables 
are almost out ot 
use at present, 
being both inse- 
cure and liable to 
injury. Thev are 
called Tambour 
from the cylindri- 
cal forms of their 
tops, which are 
glued up in nar- 
row strips of ma- 
hogany and laid 
upon canvas, 
which binds them together, and suffers them at the 
same time to yield to the motion that their ends 

Illus. 90. — Tambour Secretary, 
about 1800. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

make in the curved groove in which they run. 
Tambour tables are often introduced in small pieces 
where no strength or security is desired." 

In his will, George Washington left to Dr. Craik 
"my beaureau (or as cabinet-makers call It, tambour 
secretary)." Illustration 90 shows what might be 
called a tambour secretary. It Is made of mahogany 
with lines of light wood inlaid. The lid of the lower 
part is folded back upon itself. Above it are two 
tambour doors, behind which are drawers and pigeon- 
holes and a door in the 
centre with an oval inlay 
of satinwood. Above 
these doors is a cabinet 
with glass doors. The 
pediment is like the one 
in Illustration 88. This 
secretary was made about 
1800, and belongs to 
Francis H. Bigelow, 
Esq., of Cambridge. 

Illustration 91 shows 
a small Sheraton wrif- 
Ing table for a lady's 
use, also owned by Mr. 
Bigelow. It is of sim- 
ple construction, having 
one drawer, and when 
the desk Is closed, the effect is that of a small table 
with a flat top. 

Illustration 92 shows a desk which was copied 
from one of Sheraton's designs, published in 1793, 

lllus. 91. — Sheraton Desk, 1800. 



and described as " a lady's cabinet and writing table." 
The legs in Sheraton's drawing are slender and 
straight, while these are twisted and carved, and the 

space, which in the design is left open for books, in 
this desk is closed with a tambour door. The slide 
which shows above the compartment pulls out, with 
a mechanism described by Sheraton, and when fully 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

out, it drops to form the cover for the compart- 
ments. The Empire brasses upon the top are original, 
but the handles to the drawers are not. They should 
be brass knobs. This beautiful little desk was made 
about 1810 for William T. Lane, Esq., of Boston, 
and is owned by his daughter, Mrs. Thomas H. 
Gage of Worcester. 

Illustration 93 shows a bureau and desk, belong- 
ing to Mrs. J. H. Henry of Winchendon. The 
lid of the desk turns back like the lid of a piano. 
The carved pillars at the side are like the ones upon 
the bureau in Illustration 37, and upon other pieces 
of furniture of the same date, about 1820. 





HAIRS are 

seldom men- 
tioned in the 
earliest colo- 
inventories, and 
were in use in 
either England or 
America at that time. 
Forms and stools were 
used tor seats in the 
sixteenth and early 
seventeenth centuries, 
and inventories of that 
period, even those of 
wealthy men, do not 
often contain more 
than one or two chairs. 
The chair was the seat of honor given to the guest, 
others sitting upon forms and stools. This custom 
was followed by the American colonists, and forms 
or benches and joint or joined stools constituted 
the common seats during the first part of the seven- 
teenth century. 

The chairs in use during that period were 




Furniture of the Olden Time 

Illus. 94. — Turned Chair, Sixteenth 

" thrown " or turned 
chairs; wainscot 
chairs, sometimes de- 
scribed as " scrowled " 
or carved chairs ; and 
later, chairs covered 
with leather, or 
"Turkey work," 
and other fabrics. 

The best-known 
turned chair in this 
country is the " Pres- 
ident's Chair" at 
Harvard University. 
Dr. Holmes has 
written of it in 
" Parson Turell's 
Legacy " : — 

'* — a chair of oak, — 
Funny old chair, with seat like wedge. 
Sharp behind and broad front edge, — 
One of the oddest of human things. 
Turned all over with knobs and rings, — 
But heavy, and wide, and deep, and grand, — 
Fit for the worthies of the land, — 
Chief Justice Sewall a cause to try in. 
Or Cotton Mather, to sit — and lie, — in." 

In the Bolles collection is a chair similar to the 
Harvard chair, and one is shown in Illustration 94, 
owned by Henry F. Waters, Esq., of Salem. A 
turned chair of the same period with a square seat 
is owned by the Connecticut Historical Society. 




Provision was made for the youngest of the large 
family of children, with which the colonist was usu- 
ally blessed, in the high chair, which is found in 
almost every type. A turned high chair is shown 
in Illustration 95, brought by Richard Mather to 
America in 1635, and used to hold the successive 
babies of that famous family, — Samuel, Increase, 
Cotton, and the others. The rod is missing which 
was fastened across the front to hold the child in, 
and only the holes show where the pegs were placed 
to support the foot-rest. This quaint little chair is 
owned by the American Antiquarian Society of 

A style of turned chair 
more commonly in use is 
shown in Illustration 96, said 
to have been brought on 
the Mayflower by Governor 
Carver. The chair in Illus- 
tration 97, originallv owned 
by Elder Brewster, is of a 
rarer type, the spindles be- 
ing greater in number and 
more finely turned. Both of 
these chairs are in Pilgrim 
Hall, in Plymouth. A chair 
similar to the one owned by 
Elder Brewster is in the col- 
lection at the Old South 
Church in Boston, and "Car- 
ver chairs" are in several col- ,„ ^r t- j u- u 

. . IIlus. 95. — Turned High- 

lections. chair, Sixteenth Century, 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

The wainscot chair was made entirely of wood, usu- 
ally oak, with a panelled back, from which came the 
name "wainscot." Its valuation in inventories was two 
or three times that of the turned chair, which is prob- 
ably the reason why wainscot chairs are rarely found. 

Illus. 96 and lllus. 97. — Turned Chairs, about 1600. 

The finest wainscot chair In this country is shown 
in Illustration 98. It belongs to the Essex Insti- 
tute ot Salem, having been given to that society In 
1 821 by a descendant of the original owner, Sarah 
Dennis of Ipswich, who possessed two of these 
chairs ; the other is now the President's chair at 
Bowdoin College. 



A plainer form of the wainscot chair is shown in 
Illustration 99. It was brought to Newbury in the 
ship Hector, in 1633, and is now in the collection of 
the late Major Ben 
Perlev Poore, at Ind- 
ian Hill. 

By the middle of 
the seventeenth cen- 
tury chairs had be- 
come more common, 
and inventories of that 
period had frequent 
mention of leather or 
leather-backed chairs. 
Some of the earliest 
leather chairs have the 
under part of the frame 
similar to that of the 
wainscot chair, with 
plain legs and stretch- 
ers, while others have 
the legs and back 
posts turned. Illus- 
tration 100 shows a 
leather chair made 
about 1660, in the Waters collection. The seat and 
back have been covered with leather in the same 
manner as they were originally, as enough remained 
of the old cover to copy. 

A chair of some later date, about 1680, is shown 
in Illustration loi, also from the Waters collection, 
the back and seat of which were originally of Turkey 

Illus. 98. — Wainscot Chair, about 

•rf^A ^ 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

work. The frame is similar to that in Illustration 
lOO, with the exception of the carved brace across 
the front, which feature leads one to give the chair a 
later date than the one in Illustration loo. The 
feet have been sawed off. Other coverings beside 

Turkey work were 
used, — velvet, cam- 
lett, plush, or cloth, 
as well as an occa- 
sional cover"wrought 
by hir owne hand." 

Until the latter 
part of the seven- 
teenth century a 
somewhat architectu- 
ral style prevailed in 
chairs, settles, and 
tables. This was suc- 
ceeded by the grace- 
ful lines and carving 
of the cane furniture 
which came into fash- 
ion during the last 
quarter of that cen- 
tury. It is called 
Jacobean furniture, 
although that name 
would not seem to 
be strictly accurate, for the Jacobean period was 
ended before cane furniture was introduced into 
England, about 1678. The cane chairs form a 
complete contrast to the heavy wainscot or turned 

Illus. 99. 

-Wainscot Chair, about 



chairs in use previously, the Hght effect coming not 
only from the cane seat and back, but also from the 
frame, which was usually carved in a graceful design. 
Illustration 102 shows a chair which belonged to 
Sir William Pepperell, made possibly for his father, 

1 llus. 1 00 — Leather Chair, 
about 1660. 

lllus. 101. — Chair originally covered 
with Turkey Work, about 1 680. 

for Sir William was not born until 1697. The front 
legs, carved with the scroll foot turning forward, are 
in the pure Flemish style. The brace in front, 
carved to correspond with the top of the back, ap- 
pears in cane chairs with a carved frame. The seat 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

was originally of cane. This 
chair is now in the Alexander 
Ladd house in Portsmouth. 

A chair of similar effect, but 
with turned legs, and carved 
in a different design, with the 
crown as the central figure of 

Illus. 102. — Flemish Chair, 
about 1690. 

Illus. 103. — Flemish Chair, 
about 1690. 

the underbrace and top, is 
shown in Illustration 103. 
It belongs to Miss Mary 
Coates of Philadelphia, to 
whom it has descended 
from Josiah Langdale, in 



whose inventory this chair, with its mates, was men- 
tioned. Josiah Langdale took ship with his family 
and belongings, from England for America, in 1723. 
Before sailing he 
became very ill and 
prayed that he might 
die and be buried in 
the old graveyard, 
but his wish was not 
granted, and he was 
carried on board, 
taking his coffin 
with him. Three 
days out (but not 
far from land) he 
died, and was buried 
in his coffin, at sea. 
The coffin was not 
sufficiently weighted, 
however, and it 
drifted back to land, 
where it was opened, 
and its occupant 
identified, and 
Josiah Langdale was 
buried from the old 
Quaker meeting- 
house, as he had 
prayed. His widow 
came safely to Amer- 
ica with her furniture, among which was this chair. 
Both Flemish and Spanish characteristics appear 

Illus. 104. — Cane Chair, 1680-1690. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

in the chair in Illustration 104. The front legs 
are in the Flemish style, the scroll foot turning back 
as it often does. The twisted stretchers and back 

Illus. 105. — Cane High-chair and Arm-chair, 1680-1690. 

posts show the influence of Spanish or Portuguese 
fashions. This chair is in the Poore collection at 
Indian Hill, Newburyport. 

Illustration 105 shows two beautiful chairs owned 
by Dwight Blaney, Esq., of Boston. The Portu- 
guese twist has an unusually graceful effect in the 

Illus. 106. — Cane Chair. 1680-1690. 

Chairs 1 5 1 

tall legs of the little high chair. It will be noticed 
that, instead of being twisted, the upper part of the 
front legs is turned in balls to provide a stronger 
hold for the pegs which support the foot-rest. 
There are four holes for these pegs, at different 
heights, in order that the rest might be lowered as 
the infantile legs lengthened. The crown appears 
in the top of the high chair, while the arm-chair has 
a child's figure carved in the centre of the top. The 
arms of both chairs are carved with the acanthus leaf. 

An example of the finest carving attained in cane 
furniture is shown in Illustration 106. This exqui- 
site chair is owned by Harry Harkness Flagler, Esq., 
of Millbrook. The design of the top is repeated 
in the front brace, but much enlarged. The frame 
of the seat and the arms are carved like those in 
Illustration 105. The legs end in a curious form of 
the Spanish foot. 

A chair formerly owned by General Henry Dear- 
born, of Revolutionary fame, is shown in Illustration 
107. The back and seat were originally cane, and 
it has a perfect Spanish foot. 

The chair in Illustration 108 is of the style called 
Queen Anne. It has Spanish feet, but the back 
shows the first use of the Dutch splat, afterward 
developed and elaborated by Chippendale and others. 
This chair and the one in Illustration 107 belong to 
the writer. 

A form of chair which retained many of the 
characteristics of the cane chair was the banister- 
back chair, which appears often in inventories of 
the first half of the eighteenth century. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

Two banister-back chairs owned by the writer 
are shown in Illustration 109 and Illustration iio. 
It will be seen that the tops and one carved under- 
brace are similar to those upon cane chairs, while 

lllus. 107. — Cane Chair, 

lllus. 1( 

-Queen Anne Chair, 

the legs of one chair end in a clumsy Spanish foot. 
The banisters which form the back are turned on 
one side and flat on the other. These chairs have 
the flat side in front, but either side was used in 
banister chairs, plainer types of which are found, 
sometimes with the slats not turned, but straight and 



flat. The chair in Illustration 1 10 was used for the 
deacon's chair in the old meeting-house in West- 
borough, Massachusetts, built in 1724, and it stood 
in " the deacon's pue," in front of the pulpit, for 

Illus. 109 and Illus. 1 10. — Banister-back Chairs. 1710-1720. 

the deacon to sit upon, as was the custom. The 
deacon must have longed for the two hours' sermon 
to end, if he had to sit upon this chair with its hio;h, 
narrow seat. There are several kinds of wood in 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

these chairs, and when 
found they were painted 

An unusually fine 
banister chair, from the 
Poore collection at In- 
dian Hill, Newbury- 
port, is shown in Illus- 

jj)^3_ 111. — Banister-back Chair, 

lllus. 112. — Roundabout Chair, 
about 1740. 

tration iii, with 
carved top and under- 
brace and Spanish 
feet. The seat is 
rush, as it usually 
is in banister chairs. 
" Roundabout" 
chairs are met with 
in inventories from 
1738 under various 
names, — "three- 
cornered chair," 
" half round chair," 
"round about chair," 
— but they are now 



known as roundabout or corner chairs. They were 
made in different styles, Hke other chairs, from the 
turned or the Dutch bandy-leg, down to the carved 
Chippendale leg with claw-and-ball foot. 

illustration 112 shows 
a roundabout chair with 
turned legs, the front leg 
ending in a Dutch foot. 
This is in the Whipple 
house at Ipswich. 

Illus. 1 1 3. — Slat-back Chairs, 1700-1750. 

The most common chair during the first half 
of the eighteenth century was the " slat back," with 
a rush seat. The number of slats varied ; three, 
four, and five slats being used. The slats were also 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

made in different designs, those made in Pennsyl- 
vania being curved. 

Two slat-back chairs are shown in Illustration 113 
from the Whipple house in Ipswich. The large 

chair was found in 
the country, stuffed 
and covered with 
many lavers of wad- 
ding and various 
materials. When 
they were removed, 
this frame was dis- 
closed, but the tops 
of the posts had 
been sawed off. 
The back posts 
should terminate in 
a turned knob, like 
the Carver chair in 
Illustration 96, 
which this chair 
strongly resembles, 
the slats taking the 
place of the turned 
spindles of the Car- 
ver chair. The 
small chair is pro- 
bably of later date, 
and was evidently 

Illus. 1 14. -Five-slat Chair, about 1750. intended for a 

child's use. Chairs with three-slat backs are in 
Illustration 45 and Illustration 160. 

Chairs 157 

Illustration 1 14 shows a five-slat or five-back chair 
owned by the writer. It was made about 1750, and 
the rockers were probably added twenty-five or 
thirty years later. They project as far in front as 
in the back, which is evidence of their age. This 

Illus. 115. — Windsor Chairs, 1750-1775. 

chair has never been restored, and is a verv good 
example of the slat-back chair. It is painted black, 
with lines of yellow paint. 

Windsor chairs made their first appearance in 
this country about 1730, in Philadelphia, and " Phil- 
adelphia made " Windsor chairs soon became very 
popular. Advertisements of them abound in news- 
papers up to 1 800, and they may be found with the 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

slat-back chairs in almost any country house, fre- 
quently upon the piazza, whence many a one has 
been bought by the keen-eyed collector driving 
along the road. The original Philadelphia fashion 
was to paint the chairs green, but after they were 
made all over the country they were probably 
painted to suit the taste of the buyer. 

There is a story 
that the name Wind- 
sor was derived from 
the English town, 
where one of the royal 
Georges found in a 
shepherd's cottage a 
chair of this style, 
which he bought and 
had others made from, 
— thereby setting the 

Windsor chairs are 
found in several styles, 
two of which are shown 
in Illustration 115, 
owned by the writer. 
Side-chairs like the 
arm-chair were made with the dividing strip which 
connects the arms left out, and the rounding top rail 
continuing down to the seat. The other chair in 
the illustration is known as a " fan back " from its 
shape with the flaring top. 

Illustration 116 shows a "comb-back" Windsor 
rocking-chair, owned by Mrs. Clarence R. Hyde, of 

Illus. 116. — Comb-back Windsor 
Rocking-chair, 1750-1775. 




Brooklyn, N.Y. The middle spindles are extended 
to form the little head-rest, from which the name is 


A fine, high-backed 
arm-chair, and a child's 
chair are shown in Il- 
lustration 117, owned 
by Miss Mary Coates 
of Philadelphia, These 
chairs may have 
been some of the 
original Philadel- 
phia-made Windsor 
chairs, as they were 



1 1 

1 ' 


. 1 

Illus. 117. — High-back Windsor Arm-chair, and Child's Chair, 

bought in that town by Benjamin Horner, who 
was born in 1737. 

Windsor writing-chairs are occasionally found, 
and one is shown in Illustration 118, possessing 
more than common interest, for it is said to have 

i6o Furniture of the Olden Time 

belonged to Thomas Jefferson, and upon its table 
may have been written the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence. It now belongs to the American Philo- 
sophical Society of Philadelphia. The seat is 
double, the top one revolving. The legs have been 

Illus. 118. — Windsor Writing-chair, 1750-1775. 

Illustration 119 shows two late Windsor rocking- 
chairs, the one of curly maple being several years 
later than the other, as the rockers, short in front 
and long behind, bear evidence. These chairs are 
owned by the writer. 

The Dutch chair with bandy or cabriole legs and 
a splat in the back made its appearance with the 



early years of the eighteenth century, and was the 
forerunner of the Chippendale chair. The first 
Dutch chairs have a back similar in form to the 
Queen Anne chair in Illustration io8, slightly higher 
and narrower than later backs. They are some- 
times called Queen Anne chairs, and sometimes 

Illus. 1 19. — Windsor Rocking-chairs, 1820-1830. 

parrot-back, from the shape of the opening each 
side of the solid splat. The stretchers or under- 
braces of earlier chairs are retained in the first 
Dutch chairs, one of which is shown in Illustra- 
tion I20, owned by Mrs. Charles H. Prentice, of 

The first mention found of claw-and-ball feet is in 
1737, when "six Crowfoot chairs" appear in an in- 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

ventory. In one of 1750, "chairs with Eagle's foot 
and shell on the Knee " are entered. 

A chair is shown in Illustration 121, still retaining 
the stretchers, but with the claw-and-ball foot and a 

shell at the top of the 
back. This chair was 
made about 1 720-1 730. 
It belongs to Walter 
Hosmer, Esq. 

Illustration 122 
shows a chair also be- 
longing to Mr. Hos- 
mer. It is made with- 
out stretchers, and the 
splat is pierced at the 

A chair which retains 
the form of the Dutch 
chair, with " Eagle's 
foot and shell on the 
Knee," is shown in Il- 
lustration 123, but the 
splat is cut in an elabo- 
rate design, with the 
centre opening heart- 
shaped, which was the 
shape of the earliest 
piercing made in the 
plain splat. This chair and the one in Illustration 
124 are in the Poore collection at Indian Hill, 
Newburyport. They show the development from 
the Dutch to the Chippendale style. The legs in 

Illus. 120. —Dutch Chair (back 
stretcher missing), 1710-1720. 



Illustration 124 are carved upon the knee with an 
elaborate form of shell and a scroll. The splat is 
not pierced, hut has a curious design of ropes with 
tassels carved at the top. These chairs were made 
about 1740— 1750. The backs of the last four 

lUus. 121 and lllus. 122. — Dutch Chairs, about 1740. 

chairs are made with the characteristic Dutch top, 
curving down into the side-posts with rounded 
ends, with the effect of back and sides being in one 

A style of chair common during the first half 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

of the eighteenth century is shown in lUustra- 
tion 125; one chair having turned legs, while the 
other ends in a Spanish foot. The tops are in the 
bow shape, and the splats are pierced, showing the in- 
fluence of Chippendale fashions. The splat is alike 
in both, but the country cabinet-maker who probably 

lllus. 123 and Illus. 124. — Dutch Chairs, 1740-1750. 

made these chairs may have thought the splat would 
look as well one way as the other, and so put one in 
upside down. They are in the Deerfield Museum, 
and were made about 1750. 

A roundabout chair in the Dutch style is shown 
in Illustration 126. The bandy legs end in a foot 
with a slight carving in grooves, and the seat is 
rounding upon the corners like that in the ordinary 




Dutch chair. This very graceful chair is owned by 
Francis H. Bigelow, Esq., of Cambridge. 

Easy-chairs formed a part of the bedroom furni- 
ture inventoried during the eighteenth century, and 

Illus.125. — Dutch Chairs, 1750-1760. 

thev were made in various styles, with Dutch, Chip- 
pendale, and Hepplewhite legs. Hepplewhite gives 
a design in 1787 for what he calls "an easy-chair," 
and also a " saddle-check chair," while upon the same 
page, with intentional suggestion, is a design for a 
" gouty-stool." 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

Illustration 1 27 shows an easy-chair with the Dutch 
bandy leg and foot, owned by the writer. Such 
chairs were inventoried very high, from one pound 
to ten, and when one considers the amount of mate- 
rial required to stuff and cover the chair, the reason 
for the high valuation is understood. In the days 
when the fireplace gave what heat there was in the 
room, these great chairs must have been most com- 
fortable, with the high back and sides to keep out 


An easy-chair with 
claw-and-ball feet is 
shown in Illustration 
128. It is owned by 
Francis H. Bigelow, 
Esq., of Cambridge. 

Ji^^^^^^^^^^^^H A beautiful easy-chair 
v^^H^^I^^^^^H with carved cabriole 
iijKjf' if ^B legs, owned by Harry 

''^m^ I m Harkness Flagler, 

^m m Esq., is shown in 

■ ■ Illustration 196. 

We now come to 
the most important 
period in the consid- 
eration of chairs, — 
the last half of the 
eighteenth century. During this period many books 
of designs were published, which probably came to 
this country within a year or two of their publica- 
tion, and which afforded American cabinet-makers an 
opportunity for copying the best English examples. 

lUus. 126. 

Dutch Roundabout Chair, 

Chairs 167 

Chippendale's designs were published in 1753, 
Hepplewhite's in 1789, Sheraton's in 1791. Be- 
sides these three chief chair-makers, there were I nee 

Illus. 127. — Easy-chair with Dutch Legs. 1750. 

and Mayhew, 1765; Robert Manwaring, 1765; R. 
and J. Adam, 1773 ' ^"^ others of less note. 

Chippendale drew most of his ideas from the 
French, notably in the way of ornamentation, but 
the form of his chairs was developed chiefly from 
the Dutch style, with the bandy leg and splat in the 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

back. His straight-legged chairs were suggested by 
the Chinese furniture, which was fashionable about 
the middle of the eighteenth century. These vari- 

Illus. 128. — Claw-and-ball-foot Easy-chair, 1750. 

ous styles Chippendale adapted, and employed with 
such success that his was the strongest influence of 
the century upon furniture, and for a period of over 
thirty years it was supreme. 

The claw-and-ball foot does not appear upon any 



Illus. 129. — Chippendale Chair. 

with the claw-and- 
ball foot, which was 
the foot used by the 
majority of his imita- 
tors and followers. 

An early Chippen- 
dale chair is shown in 
Illustration 129, from 
the Poore collection 
at Indian Hill, with 
stretchers, which are 
unusual in a Chip- 

of Chippendale's de- 
signs in " The Gen- 
tleman's and Cabinet- 
Maker's Director." His 
preference was plainly 
for the French scroll 
foot, shown upon the 
sofa in Illustration 166 
and the candle-stand 
in Illustration 259. 
Doubtless, however, 
he made furniture 

Illus. 130. — Chippendale Chair. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

lUus. 131. ---Chippendale Chair. 

curves, extremely 
graceful in effect, and 
the carving upon the 
back and legs is very 
fine. This chair is one 
of a set of six owned 
by Harry Harkness 
Flagler, Esq. 

Illustration 131 
shows a chair owned 
by Miss Mary Coates 
of Philadelphia. The 
design of the back. 

pendale chair. The cab- 
riole legs are carved upon 
the knee and end in a claw- 
and-ball foot. The top of 
the back has the bow form, 
which is a distinguishing 
characteristic of Chippen- 
dale. This chair-seat and 
the one following are very 
large and broad. 

The lines in the back 
of the chair in Illustra- 
tion 130 form a series of 

Illus. 132. — Chippendale Chair. 





with some variations, is often seen. The top forms 
a complete bow with the ends turning up, and a 
shell is carved in the centre. 

A variation of this back is shown in Illustration 
132. The top has a fan instead of a shell, and the 
ends of the bow top 
are grooved. This 
chair is one of a set 
formerly owned by 
Miss Rebecca Shaw 
of Wickford, Rhode 
Island, who died in 
1900, over ninety 
years of age. They 
are now in the posses- 
sion of Mrs. Alice 
Morse Earle of 
Brooklyn, New York. 

A fine arm-chair 
owned by Miss Mary 
Coates is shown in 
Illustration 133. 

Two very beautiful 
and unusual Chippen- 
dale arm-chairs are '""'• 1 33. -Chippendale Chair. 

shown in Illustration 134. They are owned by 
Harry Harkness Flagler, Esq., and the larger 
chair, which was formerly in the Pendleton collec- 
tion, is undoubtedly an original Chippendale. Its 
proportions are perfect, and the elaborate carving is 
finely done. The other chair presents some Dutch 
characteristics, in the shape of the seat and back. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

but the details of the 
carving indicate it to 
be after the school of 

Illustration 135 shows 
a graceful chair with 
carving upon the back 
and knees. It belonged 
formerly to Governor 
Strong of Massachusetts, 
and is now owned by 
W. S. G. Kennedy, 
Esq., of Worcester. 

Illus. 135. — Chippendale Chair. 

Illus. 136. — Roundabout Chair. 

The roundabout 
chair in Illustration 
136 was originally 
owned by the Rev. 
Daniel Bliss, the Con- 
gregational minister 
in Concord, Massa- 
chusetts, from 1739 
to 1766. Hewassuc- 
ceeded by William 
Emerson, who mar- 
ried his daughter, and 
who was the grand- 
father of Ralph 
Waldo Emerson. 



William Emerson died in 1777, and Dr. Ezra Ripley 
succeeded to the pastorate and the widow, and took 
possession of the manse and of this chair, which 
must have 
served the suc- 
cessive minis- 
ters at the desk, 
while many 
hundreds of 
sound sermons 
were written. It 
now belongs to 
the Concord 

An unusu- 
allv fine exam- 
ple of the 
chair with an 
extension top 
is shown in Il- 
lustration 137, 
owned by Wal- 
ter Hosmer, 

138 shows one 
of a set of six 
straight-legged chairs owned by the writer. The 
diamond-shaped carved piece in the splat breaks 
the straight lines with very good effect. 

Illus. 137. — Extension-top Roundabout Chair. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

The design of the chair-back in Illustration 139 is 
one that was quite common. The chair belongs to 
the writer. 

The chair in Illustration 140 is owned by Mrs. 
E, A. Morse of Worcester ; the one in Illustration 

38 and Illus. 139. — Chippendale Chairs. 

141 is in the Waters collection, in Salem, and is one 
of a set of six. The legs and the rail around the 
seat of the last chair are carved in a rosette design 
in low relief 

About the middle of the eighteenth century it 
was fashionable to decorate houses and gardens in 
" Chinese taste," and furniture was designed for 



"Chinese temples" by various cabinet-makers. 
That the American colonies followed English fash- 
ions closely is shown by the advertisement in 1758 
of Theophilus Hardenbrook, surveyor, who with 
unfettered fancy modestly announced that he " de- 
signs all sorts of Buildings, Pavilions, Summer 
Rooms, Seats for Gardens " ; also " all sorts of 

Illus. 140 and Illus. 14 1. — Chippendale Chairs. 

rooms after the taste of the Arabian, Chinese, Per- 
sian, Gothic, Muscovite, Paladian, Roman, Vitruvian, 
and Egyptian." 

Illustration 142 shows a Chippendale chair in 
" Chinese taste " owned by Harry Harkness Flag- 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

ler, Esq., of Millbrook. The legs and stretchers 
are straight, like those of Chinese chairs, and the 
outline of the back is Chinese, but the delicate 
carving is English. A sofa and a chair in " Chinese 

taste " are shown in 
Illustration i68. 

Illustration 143 and 
Illustration 144 show 
two Chippendale 
chairs with backs of 
entirely different de- 
sign from the splat- 
back chairs previously 
illustrated. Their 
form was probably 
suggested by that of 
the slat-back chair. 
Illustration 143 is one 
of a set of six, origi- 
nally owned by Joseph 
Brown, one of the 
four famous brothers 
of Providence, whose 
dignified names, John, 
Joseph, Nicholas, and 
Moses, have been familiarly rhymed as "John and 
Josey, Nick and Mosey." The six chairs are now 
owned by their kinswoman, Mrs. David Thomas 
Moore of Westbury, Long Island. Each slat is 
delicately carved, and the chairs represent the finest 
of this type of Chippendale chairs. Illustration 144 
shows a chair owned by Charles R. Waters, Esq., of 

Illus. 142. — Chippendale Chair in 
" Chinese Taste." 




Salem, with carved slats in 
the back. Chairs with this 
back but with plain slats are 
not unusual. 

H epplewhite's designs 
were published in 1789, and 
his light and attractive fur- 
niture soon became fashion- 

Illus. 143. — Chippendale Chair. 

able, superseding that 
of Chippendale, which 
was pronounced " ob- 
solete." Hepplewhite's 
aim was to produce a 
light effect, and to this 
he often sacrificed con- 
siderations of strength 
and durability. While 
Chippendale used no inlaying, Hepplewhite's fur- 
niture is ornamented with both carving and inlay, 
as well as painting. His chairs may be distin- 

Illus. 144. — Chippendale Chair. 

«En-URN TO' 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

guished by the shape and construction of the back, 
which was usually of oval, shield, or heart shape. 
The carving in Hepplewhite's chairs is of quite 
a different character from that of Chippendale. 
The three feathers of the Prince of Wales often 
form a part of the back, for Hepplewhite was of 
the Prince's party when feeling ran strong during 
the illness of George III. Carved drapery, wheat, 

and the bell-flower, 
sometimes called 
husks, are other char- 
acteristics of Hepple- 
white's chairs, two of 
which are shown in 
Illustration 145, be- 
longing to Dwight 
Blaney, Esq., of Bos- 
ton. The Prince's 
feathers appear in 
the middle of one 
chair-back and upon 
the top rail of the 

Illustration 146 
shows an arm-chair 
from a set of Hepple- 
white dining-chairs 
owned by Francis H. 
Bigelow, Esq., of Cambridge. The back is carved 
with a design of drapery and ears of wheat. 

Illustration 147 shows one of a set of six very 
beautiful Hepplewhite chairs, bought originally by 

lllus. 146. — Hepplewhite Chair. 



the grandfather of their present owner, Charles R. 
Waters, Esq., of Salem. This chair is carved upon 
the legs with the bell-flower, and the three middle 

Illus. 147 and IIlus. 148. — Hepplewhite Chairs. 

rails of the back are exquisitely carved. Chairs of 
this design, with the ornament of inlay instead of 
carving, are also found. 

The chair in Illustration 148 belongs to W. S. G. 
Kennedy, Esq., of Worcester. The rails are not 
carved or inlaid, but the fan-shaped ornament at 
the lower point of the shield back is of holly and 
ebony, inlaid. This design of Hepplewhite chair 
is more frequently found than any other. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

A specialty of Hepple- 
white's was what he terms 
"a very elegant fashion." 
The chair-backs were fin- 
ished with painted or ja- 
panned work. This was not 
the lacquering which had 
been fashionable during the 

lllus. 149. — Hepplewhite Chair. 

first half of the eighteenth 
century, with Chinese fig- 
ures, but it was a process 
of coating the chairs with 
a sort of lacquer varnish, 
and then painting them 
in gold or colors upon a 
black ground. 

Haircloth was used for the seats of chairs; the 
edges were finished with brass-headed nails, arranged 
sqimetimes to simulate festoons, as in Illustration 148. 


Hepplewhite Chair. 

«ETy||^ rep 




A Hepplewhite chair with a back of quite a differ- 
ent design from the examples described previously, 
is shown in Illustration 149. The back is heart- 
shaped, and the ornamentation is of inlaying in light 
and dark wood. This chair is one of four in the 
Poore collection at Ind- 
ian Hill. They formed a 
part of the set bought by 
Washington for INIount 
Vernon, and were in use 
there at the time of his 

A chair owned by 
Miss Mary Coates of 
Philadelphia is shown in 
Illustration 150. The 
characteristic bell-flower 
is carved in the middle 
of the back of this chair. 

Hepplewhite in turn 
was superseded by Shera- 
ton, whose book of de- 
signs was published in 
1 79 1 , only two years later 
than Hepplewhite's ; but that short time sufficed 
for Sheraton to say that " this book [Hepplewhite's] 
has already caught the decline"; while he asserted 
of Chippendale's designs, that " they are now wholly 
antiquated and laid aside, though possessed of great 
merit, according to the times in which they were 

Sheraton's chairs retained many of Hepplewhite's 

Illus. 151. — Sheraton Chair. 



Furniture of the Olden Time 

characteristics, but the great difference between them 
lay in the construction of the back, which it was Shera- 
ton's aim to strengthen. His chairs, except in rare 

Illus. 152. — Sheraton Chairs. 

cases, do not have the heart or shield shaped back, 
which distinctly marks Hepplewhite chairs, but the 
back is rectangular in shape, the top rail being 
curved, straight, or with a raised piece in the centre, 
corresponding to the piece in the middle of the 
back. A rail extends across the back a few inches 
above the seat, and the splat or spindles end in this 
rail, and never extend to the seat. 

Sheraton's designs show chairs with carved, twisted, 
fluted, or plain legs. The best Sheraton chairs found 




in this country usually have straight legs, slightly 
smaller than those upon the straight-legged Chip- 
pendale chairs. The tapering, fluted leg, which is 
characteristic of Sheraton, is not found so often 
upon his chairs as upon other pieces of furniture. 
The arm-chair shown in Illustration 151 is one 
of the finest examples of its period, about 1790. 
It has stood since 1835 ^'"^ front of the pulpit in 
the Unitarian Church at Leicester, Massachusetts, 
but nothing is known of its history for the forty 
years preceding that date, when it was probably 
given to the new church, then just starting with 
its young pastor. Rev. Samuel Mav. 

Illus. 153. — Sheraton Chair 

Furniture of the Olden Time 

This chair possesses characteristics of both Hep- 
plewhite and Sheraton, and is a good instance of 
how the styles of 
those two cabinet- 
makers overlapped. 
Every detail of the 
carving is finely done, 
and the effect of the 
chair is extremely 

lUus. 155. — Sheraton Chair. 

Illustration 152 
shows two Sheraton 
chairs owned by Fran- 
cis H. Bigelow, Esq. 
It will be seen that 
the carving in the back 
is similar in design to 
that of Hepplewhite 
chairs, and the carving 
and shape of the upper 
part of the chair-back with the curved top rail is 
often seen upon Hepplewhite's " bar-back " chairs. 
Mr. Bigelow also owns the upholstered arm-chair 
in Illustration 153, sometimes called a Martha Wash- 

Illus. 156. — Sheraton Chair. 



ington easy-chair, from a 
similar chair at Mount Ver- 
non. This chair and one 
in Illustration 154, which 
belongs to Mr. Bigelow, 
are after the Sheraton style, 
although these designs do 
not appear in Sheraton's 
books. The arm-chair in 
Illustration 154 is said to 

Illus. 157. — Sheraton Chair. 

have belonged to Jerome 
Bonaparte, but as Lucien 
and Joseph Bonaparte 
both had residences in 
this country, it would more 
probably have been owned 
by one of them rather than 
by Jerome, whose career 
in America was short and 
m.eteoric. The wood of 
this chair is cherrv, said 
to have grown upon the 
island of Corsica, and the 

Il'.us. 158. — Painted Sheraton 
Chair, 1810-1815. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

style of the back, while upon the Sheraton order, 
differs from any of Sheraton's designs. 

The chair in Illustration 155 belongs to Walter 
Bowne Lawrence, Esq., of Flushing, Long Island. 
It is one of the finest types of a Sheraton chair. 

lllus. 159. — Late Mahogany Chairs, 1830-1845. 

The front legs end in what Hepplewhite called a 
" spade foot," which was frequently employed by 
him and occasionally by Sheraton. 

Illustration 156 shows a Sheraton chair owned by 
Mrs. E. A. Morse of Worcester. The top bar is 
carved with graceful festoons of drapery, and the 
back is in a design which is often seen. 

A chair after Sheraton's later designs is shown in 
Illustration 157. It is one which was popular in the 




first decade of the nineteenth century. This chair 
is part of a set inherited by Waldo Lincoln, Esq., 
of Worcester. 

The chair shown in Illustration 158 is owned by 
Mrs. J. C. Cutter of Worcester. It has a rush seat, 
and the back is painted in the manner called japan- 
ning, with gilt flowers upon a black ground. These 
chairs, which were called " Fancy chairs," were very 
popular during the first part of the nineteenth cen- 
tury, together with settees decorated in the same 

Illustration 159 shows two mahogany chairs 
owned by Waldo Lincoln, Esq., of the styles which 
were fashionable from 1840 to 1850, examples of 
which may be found in almost every household, 
along with heavy sofas and tables of mahogany, solid 
or veneered. 




HE first form of 
the long seat, after- 
ward developed 
into the sofa, was 
the settle, which is found 
in the earliest hiventories in 
this country, and still earlier 
in England. The settle 
oftenest seen in America 
is of simple construction, 
usually of pine, and painted; 
probably the work of a 
country cabinet-maker, or 
even a carpenter. It was 
made to stand by the great 
fireplace, to keep the 
draughts out and the heat 
in, with its tall back, and 
the front of the seat com- 
ing down to the floor ; and sadly was it needed in 
those days when the ink froze in the standish, as 
the minister sat by the fire to write his sermon. 
Illustration i6o shows a settle in the Deerfield 
Museum, in the kitchen. In front of the settle 


Settles, Settees, and Sofas 


stands a flax-wheel, which kept the housewife busy 
on winter evenings, spinning by the firelight. 
Beside the settle is a rudely made light-stand, with 
a tin lamp, and a brass candlestick with the ex- 
tinguisher on its top, and snuffers and tray beside 
it. Upon one side of the settle is fastened a candle- 

Illus. 160. — Pine Settle. Eighteenth Century. 

Stick with an extension frame. Behind the flax- 
wheel is a banister-back chair, the plain type of the 
chairs in Illustration 109, and at the right of the 
picture is a slat-back, flag-bottomed chair such as 
may be seen in Illustration 113. 

Illustration 161 shows a settle of oak, which has 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

upon the back the carved date 1708. The front 
of the seat has four panels, while the back has five 
lower panels, with a row of small panels above. The 
top rail is carved in five groups, the middle design 
of each group being a crown, and between each 
small panel is a turned ornament. The arms are 

Illus. 161. — Oak Settle, 1708, 

like the arms of the wainscot chairs in Illustration 
98 and Illustration 99. The top of the seat does 
not lift up, as was often the case, disclosing a box 
below, but is fastened to the frame, and probably 
there were provided for this settle the articles often 
mentioned in inventories, " chusshings," " quysyns," 
or cushions, which the hard seat made so necessary. 
This settle belongs to Dwight Blaney, Esq., of 

Settles, Settees, and Sofas 


The word "settee" is the diminutive of "settle," 
and the long seat which corresponded to the chairs 
with the frame of turned wood was called a settee or 
small settle, being of so much lighter build than the 

Illustration 162 shows a settee owned by the 
Essex Institute of Salem, and said to have been 

lllus. 162. — Settee covered with Turkey work, 1670-1680. 

brought to this country by a Huguenot family 
about 1686. It is upholstered, like the chairs of 
the same stvle, in Turkey work, the colors in which 
are still bright. Turkey work was very fashionable 
at that time, rugs being imported from Turkey in 
shapes to fit the seat and back of chairs or settees. 
Another form of the long seat was one which was 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

intended to serve as a couch, or " day-bed." It was 
really what its French name implies, chaise longue^ 
or long chair, the back being an enlarged chair-back, 
and the body of the couch equalling three chair- 
seats. Illustration 163 shows a couch owned by 
the Concord Antiquarian Society, which formerly 
belonged to the descendants of the Rev. Peter 

lllus. 163. — Flemish Couch, 1680-1690. 

Bulkeley. It had originally a cane seat, and evi- 
dently formed part of a set of furniture, for a chair 
of the same style is with it, which also belonged to 
the Bulkeley family. Both couch and chair are 
Flemish in design, with the scroll foot turning 
backward. The braces between the legs are carved 
in the same design as the top of the back. 

Illustration 164 shows a walnut couch made in the 
Dutch style about 1720-1730, with bandy legs and 

Settles, Settees, and Sofas 


Dutch feet. The splat in the back is 

Dutch, but instead of the side-posts 

curving into the top rail like the 

Illus. 164. — Dutch Couch, 1720-1730. 

Dutch chairs, in which the top and the side-posts 
apparently form one piece, these posts run up, with 
a finish at the top like the Flemish chairs, and like 
the posts in the back of the couch 
in Illustration 163. It is interest- 
ing to compare this couch, which is 
owned by the Misses Hosmer of 
Concord, Massachusetts, with the 

Illus. 165. — Chippendale Couch, 1760-1770. 

198 Furniture of the Olden Time 

following one, Illustration 165, which belongs to 
Mr. Walter Hosmer of Wethersfield, Connecticut, 
and was made about 1770. This couch, of mahog- 
any, has a back like one of the familiar Chippendale 
chairs, somewhat higher than the back of the couch 

Illus. 166. — Chippendale Sofa, 1765-1770. 

in Illustration 164, which is longer than this Chip- 
pendale couch. The bandy legs with claw-and-ball 
feet are unusually well proportioned, and the effect 
of the piece of furniture is extremely elegant. The 
canvas seat is drawn tight by ropes laced over 
wooden knobs. 

Settles, Settees, and Sofas 


Illustration i66 shows a Chippendale sofa with 
beautifully carved cabriole legs, owned by Harry 
Harkness Flagler, Esq. The three front legs are 
carved with the scroll foot turned to the front. This 
foot was called the French foot by the cabinet-makers 
of that period, about 1765-1770. 

Illus. 167. — Chippendale Double Chair. 1760. 

Illustration 167 shows a double chair, also owned 
by Mr. Flagler. It has some Dutch characteristics, 
but is undoubtedly an early Chippendale piece made 
in England. The corners of the seats and the ends 
of the top rails are rounding after the Dutch style, 

200 Furniture of the Olden Time 

but the splats are Chippendale. The three front 
legs end in a small claw-and-ball, and the knees are 
carved. The most noticeable feature of this grace- 
ful piece is the rococo design at the top of the back 
and upon the front of the seat. 

Illustration i68 shows a Chippendale double chair 
and one of four arm-chairs, formerly owned by Gov- 
ernor John Wentworth, whose household goods were 
confiscated and sold at auction by the Federal gov- 
ernment, in 1776. Since that time these pieces have 
been in the Alexander Ladd house at Portsmouth, 
New Hampshire, where they now stand. They are 
a perfect exemplification of Chippendale's furniture 
in the Chinese style, and are probably the finest ex- 
amples of that style in this country. They are of 
mahogany, with cane seats. The design of the backs 
is more elaborate than any of the Chinese designs for 
furniture of either Chippendale, Manwaring, Ince, or 
Mayhew ; an unusual thing, for a majority of the 
designs in the old cabinet-makers' books are far more 
elaborate than the furniture which has come down to 
us. Chippendale says that these " Chinese chairs are 
very suitable for a lady's boudoir, and will likewise 
suit a Chinese temple." One wonders if Gover- 
nor Wentworth had a Chinese temple for these 
beautiful pieces of furniture. He had, we know, 
splendid gardens, which were famous in those days, 
and possibly a Chinese temple may have been 
one of the adornments, with these chairs for its 

Illustration 169 shows a double chair, which is well 
known from representations of it in various books. 





Settles, Settees, and Sofas 


It is one of the finest examples existing of the Chip- 
pendale period, and was undoubtedly, like the double 
chair in Illustration 168, made in England. The carv- 
ing upon the three front legs is unusually fine. The 
feet are carved with lions' claws, and the knees with 
grotesque faces, while the arms end in dragons' heads. 

Illus. 169. — Chippendale Double Chair. 1750-1760 

The corners of the back are finished with a scroll, 
turning to the back. The wood of this double chair 
is walnut, and it is covered in grav horsehair. This 
chair formerlv belonged to John Hancock, and was 
presented to the American Antiquarian Society in 
1838, with other pieces bought from the Hancock 
house, by John Chandler, of Petersham, Massachu- 

204 Furniture of the Olden Time 

Illustration 170 shows a Sheraton settee, now in 
Girard College, Philadelphia. It was a part of the 
furniture belonging to Stephen Girard, the founder 
of that college. It has eight legs, the four in front 
being the typical fluted Sheraton legs. The back 
has five posts dividing it into four chair-backs. The 
seat is upholstered. 

Illus. 170. — Sheraton Settee, 1790-1795. 

The Sheraton sofa in Illustration iji was prob- 
ably made in England about 1 790-1 800. It is 
owned by Francis H. Bigelow, Esq., of Cambridge. 
The frame is of mahogany, and the rail at the top 
of the back is exquisitely carved with festoons and 
flowers. The front of the seat is slightly rounding 
at the ends, and the arm, which is carved upon the 
upper side, extends beyond the upholstered frame, 
and rests upon a pillar which continues up from 
the corner leg. This style of arm is quite char- 
acteristic of Sheraton. The legs of the sofa are 

Settles, Settees, and Sofas 


Illus. 171.— Sheraton Sofa. 1790-1800. 

plainly turned, not fluted, as is usual upon Sheraton 

The sofa in Illustration 172 is a typical Sheraton 
piece, of a style which must have been very fashion- 
able about 1800, for such sofas are often found 
in this country. The frame is of mahogany, with 

Illus. 172. — Sheraton Sofa, about 1800. 

2o6 Furniture of the Olden Time 

pieces of satinwood inlaid at the top of the end legs. 
The arms are like the arms of the sofa in Illustra- 
tion 171, and they, the pillars supporting them, and 
the four front legs are all fluted. This sofa is owned 
by W. S. G. Kennedy, Esq., of Worcester. 

Illustration 173 shows a Sheraton settee which 
came from the Flint mansion in Leicester, Mas- 

Illus. 173. — Sheraton Settee about 1805. 

sachusetts, and is now owned by the writer. It has 
a rush seat, and the frame was originally painted 
black, with gilt flowers. It is very long, settees of 
this style usually equalling three chairs, while this 
equals four. It measures seventy-six inches in length, 
and from front to back the seat measures seventeen 
inches. It makes an admirable hall settee, and seems 
to be substantial, although extremely light in effect. 
Illustration 174 shows the influence of the fashion 
for heavier and more elaborate frames, which came 
in with the nineteenth century. The arms are made 
after the Sheraton type shown in Illustration 171 and 

Settles, Settees, and Sofas 207 

Illustration 172, but where a simple pillar was em- 
ployed before, this sofa has a carved pineapple 
forming the support to the arm, which ends in a 
scroll. Instead of tour front legs either plain or fluted, 
there are two of larger size carved with the same 
■leaves which sheathe the pineapple. The covering 
is horsehair, which was probably the original cover. 
This sofa now belongs to the Concord Antiquarian 
Society, and was owned by Dr. Ezra Ripley, who 
was minister of the old Congregational Church 
of Concord from 1777 to 1840, and who lived in 

Illus. 174. —Sheraton Sofa. 1800-1805. 

the Old Manse, afterward occupied by Hawthorne. 
The sofa remained in the manse until comparatively 
recent years. 

The sofa in Illustration 175 belongs to the Misses 
Hosmer of Concord, and stands in their old house, 
filled with the furniture of generations past, and 
interesting with memories of the Concord philoso- 
phers. The lines of this sofa are extremely elegant 
and graceful, and its effect quite classic. The legs 

2o8 Furniture of the Olden Time 

are what is known as the Adam leg, which was 
designed by the Adam brothers, and which Shera- 
ton used frequently. The style of the sofa is that 
of the Adam brothers, and it was probably made 
from their designs about 1 800-1810. The writer 

Sofa in Adam Style, 1800-1810. 

has seen a window seat which belonged to Charles 
Carroll of Carrollton, after exactly this design, with- 
out the back. 

The back of the sofa in Illustration 176 follows 
the same graceful curves as the one in Illustration 
175. This sofa was found by the writer in the 
shed of a farmhouse, on top of a woodpile, which 
made it evident what its fate would be eventually, 
a fate which has robbed us of many a fine piece of 
old furniture. After climbing upon a chair, then a 
table, the sight of these carved feet protruding from 
the woodpile was almost enough to make the an- 
tique hunter lose her insecure footing; but with the 
duplicity learned in years of collecting, all emotion 
was concealed until the sofa had been secured. The 
writer knows of four sofas, all found near Worcester, 

Settles, Settees, and Sofas 


measuring the same, seven feet in length, and with 
the same carving of oak leaves upon the legs and 
ends, but this is the only one of the four which has 
the carved oak leaves across the front of the seat, 
and the rows of incised carving upon the back rail. 
The sofa was covered with black haircloth, woven 
in an elaborate design, and around the edge of the 
covering ran the brass beading which may be seen 

Illus. 177. — Sofa, about 1820. 

in the illustration. This beading is three-eighths of 
an inch wide, and is of pressed brass, filled with lead, 
so that it is pliable and mav be bent to go around a 
curve. Such beading or trimming was used in the 
place of brass-headed tacks or nails, and is found 
upon chairs and sofas of about this date, i8i 5-1820. 
Illustration 177 shows one of a pair of sofas with- 
out backs. The frame is of mahogany with legs 
and arms carved rather coarsely. The covering is 
of stiff old brocade, probably the original cover 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

when these sofas were made, about 1820, for the 
Warner house in Portsmouth, where they still stand. 
The panelling of the old room, built in 17 16, shows 
behind the sofa, and on the floor is the Brussels 
carpet upon which is a stain from wine spilt by 
Lafayette, when he visited the house in 1824. 

The sofa in Illustration 178, known as a cornu- 
copia sofa, from the design of the carving, shows 
the most ornate type of this style. The frame is 
of mahogany, and the ends of the arms are carved 
in large horns of plenty, the same design being re- 
peated in the carving of the top rail of the back 
and in the legs, which end in a lion's claw. The 

Illus. 178. — Cornucopia Sofa, about 1820. 

round hard pillows, called " squabs," at each end, 
were always provided for sofas of this shape, to fit 
into the hollow made by the curves of the cornuco- 
pia. This sofa is owned by Dr. Charles Schoeffer 
of Philadelphia. 

Illustration 179 shows a sofa and miniature sofa 
made about 1820 for William T. Lane, Esq., of Bos- 
ton, and now owned by his daughter, Mrs. Thomas 

Settles, Settees, and Sofas 


H. Gage of Worcester. Mr. Lane had two little 
daughters, and for them he had two little sofas 
made, that thev might s"t one each side of the large 
sofa. This fashion of making miniature pieces of 
furniture like the larger ones was much in vogue 
during the first quarter of the nineteenth century. 

f ■ •>• ■■■'^jmiJ^:Jk\*W *■ IJ" -'■■V '^i-'P-^ 

lllus. 179. — Sofa and Miniature Sofa, about 1820. 

The sofa and chair in Illustration i8o are part of a 
set of furniture bought by the father and mother of 
the late Major Ben Perley Poore, for their house at 
Indian Hill, about 1840. These pieces are inter- 
esting not only for the design of the mahogany 
frames, carved with swans' necks and heads, but for 
the covering, which is of colored haircloth, woven 
in a large figure in red and blue upon a gray 
ground. The seat of the sofa is worn and has a 
rug spread upon it, but the back and pillows and 
the chair-seat are perfect. 

From 1844 to 1848 a cabinet-maker named John 
H. Belter had a shop in New York, where he man- 
ufactured furniture, chiefly from rosewood. The 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

backs of the chairs and sofas were deeply curved, 
and in order to obtain the strength necessary, thin 

lllus. 1 

Sofa and Chair, about 1840. 

pieces of rosewood were pressed into the desired 
curve, and the several thicknesses glued together, 

Settles, Settees, and Sofas 215 

and pressed again. The strong back made in this 
way was then elaborately carved, in an openwork 
pattern of vines and leaves. The sofas of these sets 
were usually in the shape shown in Illustration 181, 
which belongs to Mrs. M. Newman of New York. 
Many of the wealthv families of New York had this 
Belter furniture, which was always covered with a 
rich silk brocade. It is eagerly sought for now and 
brings large prices. 




HE earliest form of 
table in use in this 
country was invento- 
ried in 1 642 as a " table 
bord," and the name occurs in 
English inventories one hundred 
years earlier. The name "board" 
was given quite literally from 
the table top, which was a board 
made separately from the sup- 
porting trestles, and which, after 
a meal, was taken off the trestles, 
and both board and trestles were 
put away, thus leaving the room 
free. These tables were long 
and narrow, and had in earliest times a long bench 
or form at one side only, the other side of the board 
being left free for serving. In the Bolles collection 
is a veritable " borde " rescued from the attic of a de- 
serted house, where it had stood for scores of years. 
The board is about twelve feet long and two feet 
one inch wide, and bears the mark of many a knife. 
It rests upon three rude trestles, presenting a won- 
derfully interesting example of the " table borde " 




of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and 
one which is extremely rare. 

It will be easily seen how the expression "the 
festive board " originated. Presently it became the 
custom to leave 
the board upon its 
trestles, instead 
of removing both, 
and in time the 
piece was called 
a table, which 
name covered 
both board and 
trestles. Some 
of the different 
forms of the table 
mentioned in in- 
ventories are 
framed and joined 
tables, chair ta 
bles, long tables, 
square, oval, and 
round tables. 
The framed and 

. . 111 r IHus. 182. — Chair Table. Eighteenth Century. 

joined tables rerer 

to the frame beneath the board. The other tables 
derive their names from the shape or construction 
of the tops. A drawing-table was one made with 
extension pieces at each end, supported when out 
by wooden braces, and folding back under or over 
the table top when not in use. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

A chair table is shown in Illustration 182. The 
table top is put back in the illustration, so that the 
piece can be pushed against the wall and used as a 
chair. Chair tables always had the drawer beneath 
the seat. They are inventoried as early as 1644. 

Illus. 183. — Oak Table, 1650-1675. 

This chair table belongs to Dwight Blaney, Esq., of 

The framed or joined table had turned legs, with 
stretchers between, and a drawer under the table top. 
Illustration 183 shows an oak table formerly owned 
in the Coffin family, and now in the building of the 
Newburyport Historical Society. The table is a 
good example of the framed or joined table early in 



the seventeenth century. The legs and stretchers 
are of the same style as those upon wainscot chairs, 
which belong to the 
same period as the 

Illustration 184 
shows a table with 
slate top, owned by 
the American Anti- 
quarian Society of 
Worcester. The slate 
top originally filled 
the eight-sided space 

L ° r L Illus. 184. —Slate-top Table, 1670-1680. 

in the centre or the 

table, but only the middle section is now left. Be- 
side the piece of slate is a paper written by the late 

John Preston of 
New Ipswich, New 
Hampshire, in 
1847, when he 
gave the table to 
the Antiquarian 
Society, detailing 
the history of the 
table from the time 
it was given to his 
ancestor, the Rev. 
Nehemiah Walter, 
who graduated 

Illus. 185. — •• Butterfly Table," about 1700. fj-^y^ Harvard 

University in 1682. The table was used by genera- 
tion after generation of ministers and lawyers, whose 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

ink-stains cover the marquetry border around the 
top, and whose feet have worn the stretchers. Slate- 
top tables are very rare, and there are but few known 
to exist. The turned legs and stretchers and the 
drawer in the table are features which appear in 

Illus. 186.— " Hundred-legged Table, • 1675-1700. 

tables of the same date with wooden tops. There 
is one drop handle left upon the drawer, the frame 
around which has the early single moulding. 

Illustration 185 shows a curious little table, several 
of which have been found in Connecticut, and which 
were probably made there. It has the turned legs, 
with plain stretchers of the table in Illustration 183. 
The oval top has drop leaves which are held up by 

Tables 223 

wing-shaped braces, from which comes the modern 
name for this table, of "butterfly table." 

The table in Illustration 186 is an unusually fine 
example of what is now called a " hundred-legged " 
or " forty-legged " table, evidently from the bewil- 
dering number of legs beneath it, which are wofully 
in the way of the legs of the persons seated around 
it. This table is made of oak, with twisted legs, and 
measures four feet by five and a half. The support- 
ing legs, when not in use, swing around under the 
middle leaf The table is owned by Dwight Blaney, 

Illustration 187 shows a superb walnut dining- 
table now in the rooms of the Albany Historical 
Society. It measures six feet six inches in length 
and five feet eleven inches across. It belonged to 
Sir William Johnson, and was confiscated in 1776, 
when it was bought by the Hon. John Taylor, 
whose descendants have loaned it to the Society. 
One can picture this great table, sparkling with 
candlelight, with the colonial governor and his 
guests in their brilliant costumes seated around it. 

Illustration 188 shows a forty-legged table, such as 
is not uncommonly found. It measures four feet in 
length. The large Sheffield plate tray on feet was 
made in the early part of the nineteenth century, 
when trays of various sizes upon feet were fashion- 
able. The tea-set upon the tray is one made about 
1835, and is extremely graceful in shape. The table 
and silver are owned by the writer. 

The little Dutch table in Illustration 189 has the 
next style of leg used upon tables, which were made 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

in all sizes, and were presumably very popular, for 
such tables are often found. One leg slides around 
on each side to support the leaves. This table 

Illus. 188. — •' Hundred-legged Table," 1680-1700. 

was made about 1740, and belongs to Francis H. 
Bigelow, Esq. 

The same Dutch leg is seen in Illustration 190 
upon a dainty little mahogany card-table, with slides 
at each end to hold the candlesticks. This table 
belongs to Miss Tilton of Newburyport. 



Illustration 191 shows a mahogany table with claw- 
and-ball feet owned by the writer. The top meas- 
ures four feet four 
inches across, and its 
date is about 1750. 
The double coaster 
upon wheels, filled 
with violets, was made 
to hold decanters of 
wine, and one can 
imagine these wheels 
rattling down the ma- 
hogany table as the 
evening grew late and 
the decanters empty. i,i^3_ i89.-Dutch Table, 1:20-1740. 

As early as 1676 
stands are spoken of in inventories, and during the 
eighteenth century they were a common article of 

furniture. The tops 
were square, oval, or 
round, and the base 
consisted of a pillar 
with three spreading 
feet. Illustration 192 
shows the early foot 
used for these stands, 
about 1740. This 
table is owned by 
Miss Mary Coates of 
Philadelphia, and the 
silver pieces upon it are heirlooms in her family. 
These stands came to be known as " Dutch Tea- 


190. — Dutch Card-table, 1730- 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

Tables," and the bases were often elaborately carved. 
The tops of the handsomest tables were carved out 
of a thick piece of wood, so as to leave a rim, to 
keep the china from sliding off. This carved rim was 
in different forms, the finest being what is now called 

lilus. 1 9 1 . — Claw-and-ball-foot Table, about 1750. 

" pie-crust," with an ogee scallop. The plain rim 
is now known as the "dish-top." Illustration 194 
shows a dish-top table belonging to Francis H. 
Bigelow, Esq. Illustration 193 shows a pie-crust 
table owned by Dwight Blaney, Esq. Both tables 
have claw-and-ball feet, and they are made, like all 
of the Dutch tea-tables, with the top revolving upon 



the pillar. When not in use .the top could be 
"tipped," and the table put back against the wall ; 
and when the top was to be 
used, it fastened down with a 
:5 snap. 

Illustration 195 shows two 
of the finest type of tea-tables. 
They are owned by Harry 

Illus. 192. — Dutch Stand, 
about 1740. 

Harkness Flagler, 

Esq. One has the 

pie-crust edge, and 

the other a scalloped 

edge. The pillars ot 

both are fluted, and 

the legs are carved. 

A great difference can 

be noted between 

these two bases, in the sweep of the spreading legs, 

and in the claw-and-ball feet, which are especially 

fine upon the pie-crust table. The proportions of 

Illus. 193. 

Pie-crust Table, '■ 1750. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

this table are unusually good, the central pillar being 
slender, and the finely carved legs having a spread 
which gives a very 
graceful and 

Illustration 196 
shows another fine 
table and chair owned 
by Mr. Flagler. The 
chair is described upon 
page 166. The table 
has an oval top, carved. 

Ulus. 194. — "Dish-top Table," 1750. 

lllus. 1 95. — Tea-tables, 1750-1760. 

not in a regular scallop, but in rococo scrolls. It has 
a heavier pillar than the pie-crust table in the last 

Tables 23 1 

illustration, and the legs have a smaller spread. 
The box beneath the top also varies trom those in 
the previous illustration, in having two sides closed. 

Stands were made in different sizes, one being 
intended for a " light-stand " to hold the candlestick, 
and the smallest for a tea-kettle stand, to accompany 
the tea-table. Illustration 197 shows three sizes of 
stands, all smaller than those illustrated previously, 
and giving somewhat the effect of the three bears ot 
the nursery tale. The middle stand, which has a 
dish-top, has a base which is exquisitely carved. 
The tiny kettle-stand is only eighteen and one-half 
inches high. These three stands also belong to 
Mr. Flagler. 

Illustration 198 shows a small tea-table belonging 
to Mrs. C. M. Dyer of Worcester. A star is inlaid 
upon the top, the edge of which has a row of fine 
inlaying. The base has three fanlike carvings 
where the legs join the pillar. 

The exquisite Chippendale card-table shown in 
Illustration 199 is not onlv beautitul in itselt, but it 
frames what is a monument to the industry of the 
frail young girls who embroidered the top, and to the 
good housekeeping of its owners for one hundred and 
twenty odd years. The colors in this embroidery 
are as brilliant as when new, and never a moth has 
been suffered to even sniff at its stitches, which are 
the smallest I have ever seen. The work is done 
upon very fine linen, and each thread is covered with 
a stitch of embroiderv, done with the slenderest 
possible strands of crewel, in designs of playing- 
cards, and of round and fish-shaped counters, in 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

IIlus. 197. — Stands, 1760-1770. 

mother-of-pearl shades, copied from the original 
pearl counters, which still lie in the little oval pools 

hollowed out for them 
in the mahogany frame. 
The fashionable game 
at that date was qua- 
drille, which was played 
with these round and 
fish-shaped counters. 

Dr. William Samuel 
Johnson, the first 
president of Columbia 
University, had four 
daughters, all of whom 
died in early youth, 
from consumption. 
This embroidery was 
wrought by them, one 
iiius. 198. — Tea-table, about 1770. taking the task as the 



other gave it up with her life. The same young 
girls embroidered the screen in Illustration 257. 
Small wonder they died young ! Far better the 


Chippendale Card-table, about 1 765. 

golf and tennis which would occupy the daughters 
of a modern college president, if he were so fortunate 
as to have four. 

The frame of this table is very beautiful, though 

234 Furniture of the Olden Time 

it is cast in the shade by the extraordinary needle- 
work. It is after the finest Chippendale design, 
and of the best workmanship. The wood is ma- 

Illus. 200. — Chippendale Card-table, about 1765. 

hogany, and upon the drawer are the marks of 
the brass handle, which was taken off and replaced 
by a wooden knob. This table is owned by Mrs. 
Johnson-Hudson of Stratford, Connecticut. 

Illustration 200 shows another Chippendale card- 



lUus. 201. — Pembroke Table. 

table with a baize- 
covered top. It has 
the pools for counters, 
and the corners of 
the top are shaped 
in square pieces to 
stand the candlesticks 
upon. The knees of 
the cabriole legs are 
finely carved, and a 
carved twist finishes 
the lower edge of the 
front. It will be no- 
ticed that there is a leg at each corner when the 
table is open. When the top is folded, two of the 

legs turn by a curious 
mechanism ; and a leg 
is still at each corner, 
with the top half the 
size. This card-table 
is owned by Harry 
Hark n ess Flagler, 
Esq., of Millbrook, 
New York. 

A style of table 
popular during the 
latter half of the 
eighteenth century 
w^as one called a Pem- 
broke table, accord- 
, , , ^ . u, ins to Sheraton, from 

nius. 202. — Hepplewhite Card-table & r i i j 

with Tea-tray, 1785-1790. the name ot the lady 

236 Furniture of the Olden Time 

who first ordered one, and who probably gave the 
idea to the workman. Illustration 201 shows a 
Pembroke table in the Chippendale style, with 
rather unusual stretchers between the legs. The 
characteristic which gives a table the name of Pem- 
broke consists in the drop leaves, which are held 
up, when the table is open, by brackets which turn 
under the top. The shape of the top varies, being 
square, round, oval, or with leaves shaped like the 
table in the illustration. They are always small, 
and were designed for breakfast tables. This table 
belongs to the Concord Antiquarian Society. 

From about 1786 the designs of Shearer, Hepple- 
white, and Sheraton entirely superseded the fashions 
of the fifty years preceding, and the slender tapering 
leg took the place of the cabriole leg. Illustration 
202 shows a Hepplewhite card-table, of about 1789, 
with inlaid legs, one of which swings around to sup- 
port half of the top, which is circular when open. 
Upon this table is a mahogany tea-tray with handles 
at each side, and a raised rim with scalloped edge, 
to keep the cups and saucers from slipping off. 
Oval trays of this style are not uncommon, but this 
is the only one I have seen of semicircular shape, 
to fit the top of a table. This table and tray are 
owned by the Concord Antiquarian Society. The 
china upon the tray is Lowestoft, so-called. 

Illustration 203 shows two typical Hepplewhite 
card-tables owned by the writer. They are of ma- 
hogany, the square, tapering legs being inlaid with 
a fine line of holly. The front of one table has 
an oval inlay of lighter mahogany, and small oval 




pieces above each leg. The edge of this table is 

inlaid with lines of holly. The front of the other 

table is veneered with 

curly maple, and has 

a panel in the centre 

inlaid with an urn 

in colored woods. 

There is a row of 

fine inlaving in holly 

and ehonv upon the 

edge of the top. This 

table was rescued by 

the writer from an "lus. 204. — Sheraton Card- 
table. 1800. 

ignommious exist- 
ence in a kitchen, where it was covered with oilcloth 
and used for kitchen purposes. The leaf of each 

o{ these tables is 
supported by one 
of the legs, which 
swings around. 

Illustration 204 
shows a Sheraton 
card-table of the 
best style, with 
fluted legs and the 
front veneered in 
satinwood. It is 
owned by Irving 
Bigelow, Esq., ot 

The Sheraton card-table in Illustration 205 is of a 
few years later date than the one in Illustration 204, 

lllus. 205. — Sheraton Card-table. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

with slightly heavier legs, fluted and carved. The 

curves of the front of the table are extremely grace- 
ful. It belongs to Dwight 
Blaney, Esq. 

Illustration 206 shows a 
Sheraton stand, called a 
" what-not," made of ma- 
hogany, with fluted legs. 
The posts above the legs 
are veneered in bird's-eye 
maple, and the two drawers 
are veneered in satinwood. 
The handles are of bone 
or ivory. The effect of 
this little stand is most airy 
and light. It belongs to 
Mr. Blaney. 

Illustration 207 shows a 
Sheraton "What- mahogany dining-table and 
^^°°-'^'°- one of eight chairs which 

came from the John Hancock house in Boston. 

They are now owned by Clinton M. Dyer, Esq., of 

lUus. 206. 

Illus. 207. — Sheraton Dining-table and Chair, about 1810. 




Illus. 208. — Sheraton 
Work-table, about 1800. 

out, measures five and 
a half by twelve feet. 

The chair is made 
after the style of the 
late Sheraton chairs, with 
carved drapery upon the 

Illustration 208 shows 
a circular work-table 
of very graceful design. 
The wood is mahogany, 
and the little feet are of 
bronze. There are three 
drawers, the two upper 


Worcester. They were made 
probably about 18 10. The legs 
of the table end in the Adam foot. 
The table which has both leaves 
dropped shows the position of the 
legs when the table is not in use ; 
each leg swings around to support 
the leaves when in use. The 
table with slightly rounded cor- 
ners can be taken apart, and the 
extra table put between the two 
sections, the leaves being fastened 
together by a curious brass spring. 
Each leaf measures five and one- 
half feet in length. The drop 
leaves are twenty-six inches wide, 
and the table, when all the top is 

illus. 209. — Sheraton Work-table, 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

ones opening with a spring and revolving upon a 
pivot. In these little drawers may still be seen the 
beads remaining from the time, about 1800, when 
it was fashionable for young ladies to make bead 
bags. The table top has an opening in the centre, 
which originally had a wooden cover, and the space 
below the top was utilized to hold the work. At 

Illus. 210. — Maple and Mahogany Work-tables, 1810-1820 

the back of the top are two short turned posts sup- 
porting a little shelf, to hold a candlestick, or to 
have fastened upon its edge the silver bird which 
was used by needlewomen of those days to hold 
one end of the work. This little table is owned by 
the Misses Hosmer of Concord. 

Illustration 209 shows a Sheraton work-table, 
owned by Mrs. Samuel B. Woodward of Worcester. 

Tables 243 

The carving at the top of the fluted legs is very 
fine, and the little table is quite dainty enough to 
serve the purpose for which it was bought, — a wed- 
ding gift to a bride. The brass fixtures for the 
casters are unusually good, but the handles are not 
original. The top drawer contains a sort of writing- 

Illus. 211. — Pillar-and-claw Dining-table. about 1800. 

desk, besides compartments for sewing-materials, 
and at the side of the table a slide pulls out which 
originally had a silk bag attached, to hang below 
the table. 

Illustration 210 shows two work-tables of mahog- 
any and bird's-eye maple, belonging to Francis H. 
Bigelow, Esq. Similar tables were common about 
the years 1 8 10-1820. 

Up to 1800 the dining-table had been made in 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

various styles, in all of which the table legs were 
more or less in the way of those around the table. 
In the "hundred-legged" table there seemed to be 
a table leg for each person. Then came the cabriole 

Illus. 212. — Phyfe Card-table, 1810-1820. 

leg, also in the way, and finally the Hepplewhite 
dining-table, which was made in sections, with 
rounded ends, and four legs on each end. 

About i8oo the pillar-and-claw table was invented, 
which made it possible for several persons to sit 



around a dining-table without a part of the guests 
encircHng the table legs with their own. These 
tables were made in pairs or in threes, one after 
another being added as more room was required. 
The design became most popular, and was used for 
centre-tables, bases of piano stools, and even for 
piano legs. (See Illustration 227.) A pillar-and- 
claw centre-table, with drop leaves, is shown in 
Illustration 211. The feet are lions' claws, and from 
this date the lion's or bear's claw-foot was used up- 
on pieces with carved 
feet, instead of the 
claw-and-ball. This 
table is owned by John 
Smith, Esq., of Wor- 

One of the finest 
of American cabinet- 
makers was Duncan 
Phyfe, whose address 
in the New York di- 
rectory of 1802 is 35 
Partition Street. He 
was in business in 1976 and pursued his trade until 
1850, employing one hundred workmen. Much of 
his furniture still exists, notably chairs with lyre 
backs. A specialty of Phyfe's was a card-table, one 
of which is shown in Illustration 212. In the illus- 
tration the table apparently lacks a fourth leg, as it 
stands against the wall. But when the top is open, 
by an interesting mechanism the three legs spread 
and a brace comes out to support the other half of 

Illus. 213. — Phyfe Card-table. 

246 Furniture of the Olden Time 

the top, so that it forms a perfectly proportioned 
table. Mr. Hagen of New York has an old bill, 
dated 18 16, for two of these tables at sixty dollars 
apiece. The table in the illustration is owned by 
Dwight Blaney, Esq. 

Illus. 214. — Pier-table, 1820-1830. 

One of a pair of tables owned by Miss H. P. F. 
Burnside of Worcester is shown in Illustration 213. 
The tables were probably made by Duncan Phyfe, 
who frequently employed the lyre in both tables and 



chairs. The strings of the lyre are of brass, like 
the lions' feet in which the legs end. The carving 
upon these tables is unusually fine, like all of 
Phyfe's, and the tables are extremely graceful. 

The fashion of heavy furni- 
ture elaborately carved was more 
popular in the South than in the 
North, and the most ornate pieces 
are found in the South. The 
pier-table in Illustration 214 is 
one of a pair found in Virginia, 
which were made about 1830. 
The chief motif in the design 
seems to be dolphins' heads, 
which form the feet, and the 
base of the front supports to 
the top. 

Illustration 215 shows a small 
work-table of curious shape, 
with the octagon-shaped inte- 
rior divided into little boxes 
for sewing-materials. The mid- 
dle compartment extends down 
into the eight-sided pillar. The '"us. 215.— Work-tabie, 

) U A U 4.U 1810-1820. 

work-boxes are covered by the 

top of the table, which lifts upon hinges. This table 

belongs to Mrs. E. A. Morse of Worcester. 




PI N ETS, virginals, and 
harpsichords were 
brought to the Ameri- 
can colonies in English 
ships as early as 1645, when 
" An old pair of virginalls " 
appears in an inventory ; and 
another, in 1654. In 1667 a 
pair of virginals is valued at 
two pounds. In his diary of 
1699 J'J'^g^ Samuel Sewall 
alludes to his wife's virginals. 
In 17 1 2 the Boston News 
Letter contained an advertise- 
ment that " the spinet would 
be taught," and in 17 16 the 
public were requested to 
"Note, that any Persons may have all Instruments 
of Music mended, or Virginals or Spinets strung & 
tun'd, at a Reasonable Rate, and likewise may be 
taught to play on any of the Instruments above 
mentioned." From the wording of this advertise- 
ment it is evident that these instruments were no 


Musical Instruments 249 

I have not been able to learn of an existing vir- 
ginal which was in use in this country, but occa- 
sionally a spinet is found. The expression a " pair " 
or "set" of virginals was used in the same manner 
as a " pair " or " set " of steps or stairs, and in Eng- 
land an oblong spinet was called a virginal, in dis- 
tinction from the spinet of triangular shape, which 
superseded the rectangular, oblong form in which 
the earliest spinets were made. Both virginal and 
spinet had but one string to a kev, and the tone 
of both was produced by a sort of plectrum which 
picked the string. This plectrum usually consisted 
ot a crow quill, set in an upright piece of wood, 
called a "jack," which was fastened to the back of 
the key. The depressing of the key by the finger 
caused the quill to rise, and as it passed the string, 
the vibration produced the musical tone, which is 
described by Dr. Burney as " A scratch with a sound 
at the end of it." The name of the spinet is by 
some supposed to be derived from these quills, — 
from spina^ a thorn. According to other authorities 
the name came from a maker of the instrument, 
named Spinetti. The virginal was so called because 
young maids were wont to play upon it, among them 
that perennial voung girl. Queen Elizabeth. The 
most famous makers of spinets in England were 
Charles Haward or Haywood, Thomas and John 
Hitchcock, and Stephen Keene. In Pepys's diary 
are the following- entries : — 

"April 4., 1668. Called upon one Haward that makes vir- 
ginalls, and there did like of a little espinette and will have him 
finish it for me ; for I had a mind to a small harpsichon, but this 
takes up less room." 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

"July 15, 1668. At noon is brought home the espinette I 
bought the other day of Haward ; cost me 5;^." 

Illustration 216 shows a spinet in the Deerfield 
Museum, which formerly belonged to Miss Sukey 
Barker of Hingham, who must have been a much 
envied damsel. It is marked Stephanus Keene, 
which places the date of its make about 1690. The 

nius. 216. — Stephen Keene Spinet, about 1690. 

body of the spinet stands twenty-four inches from 
the floor. Its extreme length is fifty-six inches, 
and the keyboard of four and one-half octaves 
measures twenty-nine inches. There are but six 
keys left, but they are enough to show that the 
naturals were black and the sharps white. There 
is a row of fine inlaying above the keyboard, and 
the maker's name is surrounded with painted flowers. 
The spinet, as may be seen, was a tiny instrument, 

Musical Instruments 


in shape similar to our modern grand piano. The 
body of the spinet was entirely separate from the 
stand, which was made with stretchers between the 
legs, of which there were three and sometimes four, 
so placed that one leg came under the narrow back 
end of the spinet, one under the right end of the 
front, and one or sometimes two at the left of the 
front. The instrument rested upon this table or 

The name upon the majority of spinets found 
in this country is that of Thomas Hitchcock. His 
spinets are numbered and occasionally dated. There 
is a Thomas Hitchcock spinet owned by the Con- 
cord Antiquarian Society, numbered 1455, and one 
owned in Worcester, numbered 15 19. 

Illustration 217 shows a spinet which was owned 
by Elizabeth Hunt Wendell of Boston. It was 
probably an old instrument when she took it with 
her from Boston to Portland in 1766 upon her 
marriage to the Rev. Thomas Smith, known as 
Parson Smith, of Portland. It is now owned by 
her great-great-granddaughter in Gorham, Maine. 
The board above the keys has two lines of inlaying 
around it, and is marked "Thomas Hitchcock 
Londoni fecit, 1390." The front of the white keys 
is cut with curved lines, and the black keys have a 
line of white ivory down the centre. The parrot- 
back chair in the illustration is described upon 
page 161. Authorities seem to vary upon dates 
when the Hitchcocks made spinets. Mr. A. J. 
Hipkins of London, the well-known authority upon 
pianos, harpsichords, and spinets, writes me that he 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

dates the Thomas Hitchcock spinets from 1664 to 
1703, and those of John Hitchcock, the son of 
Thomas, from 1676 to about 1715. Mr. Hipkins 
says that the highest number he has met with upon 
Thomas Hitchcock's spinets is 1547, so it is safe to 
date this spinet in Illustration 217, which numbers 
1390, to about 1690. 

Illus. 2 1 7. — Thomas Hitchcock Spinet, about 1690. 

By the latter half of the eighteenth century pro- 
ficiency upon various musical instruments was not 
uncommon. John Adams in 1771 speaks of a 
young man of twenty-six, as " a great proficient in 
music, plays upon the flute, fife, harpsichord, spinet, 
etc. ; a very fine Connecticut young gentleman." 
In 1768, in the Boston Chronicle a.ppQRVs the advertise- 

Illus. 218. — Broadwood Harpsichord, 1789. 

Musical Instruments 


jment of John Harris, recently from England, " that 
he makes and sells all sorts of Harpsichords and 
Spinets," and in 1769 the Bos/on Gazelle says, "A 
few days since was shipped for Newport a very 
curious Spinet, being the first one ever made in 
America, the performance of the ingenious Mr. 
John Harris." In 1770 the same paper praises an 
excellent "spinet" made by a Bostonian, "which 
for goodness of workmanship and harmony of sound 
is esteemed by the best judges to be superior to any 
that has been imported from Europe." This would 
seem to indicate that a tone of superiority in musical 
matters was assumed by Boston at an early date. 
The statement with regard to the first spinet made 
in America is incorrect, for over twenty years 
earlier, in 1742, Hasselinck had made spinets in 

In the Essex Institute of Salem is a spinet made 
by Samuel Blythe of Salem, the bill for which, dated 
1786, amounts to eighteen pounds. 

The harpsichord, so named from its shape, was 
the most important of the group of contemporary 
instruments, the virginal, spinet, and harpsichord, 
the tone of which was produced with the quill and 
jack. The harpsichord had two strings to each 
key, and the instrument occupied the relative posi- 
tion that the grand piano does to-day, being much 
larger and having more tone than the spinet. Like 
the spinet, its manufacture ceased with the eighteenth 
century. Illustration 218 shows a harpsichord 
formerly owned by Charles Carroll, who was so 
eager to identify himself as a patriot, that he signed 

256 Furniture of the Olden Time 

his name to the Declaration of Independence as 
Charles Carroll of Carrollton. This harpsichord 
was discovered twenty-five years ago in the loft of 
an old college building in Annapolis, where it had 
lain for fifty years. The Carroll coat of arms, painted 
upon porcelain and framed in gold, is fastened above 
the keyboard. The inscription upon this instru- 
ment is " Burkat Shudi et Johannes Broadwood, 
patent No. 955 Londini, Fecerant 1789, Great 
Poulteney Street, Golden Square." 

There are two banks of keys, with a range of five 
octaves, and three stops, which were intended to 
change the tone, two of them being marked harp 
and lute. The case is quite plain, of mahogany, 
with a few lines of inlaying above the keyboard and 
a line around the body and top. It is owned by 
William Knabe & Co. of Baltimore, and is one of 
fourteen Broadwood harpsichords known to exist. 

That the harpsichord was not an uncommon in- 
strument in this country during the latter half of 
the eighteenth century is shown by the number of 
advertisements of the harpsichord and its teachers. 

Illustration 219 shows a clavichord or clavier, 
made about 1745. It is owned by Mr. John Orth 
of Boston. The clavichord, like its successor, the 
square piano, was of oblong shape. The musical 
tone was produced in a different manner from that 
of either the spinet or piano. Each key had at the 
back an upright " tangent " or wedge-shaped piece 
of brass, which, as the front of the key was de- 
pressed, rose and set the string of twisted brass 
wire in vibration, by pressing upon it, instead of 

Musical Instruments 


picking it like the quill of the spinet and harpsi- 
chord. 'I'his pressure divided the string into two 
different lengths, the shorter length being prevented 
from vibrating by a band of cloth interlaced with 
the strings. The same interlaced cloth stopped the 
vibration of the longer division of the string, as soon 
as the pressure was taken from the key, thus allow- 

Illus. 219. — Clavichord 

ing the tangent to flill. In the earlier clavichords 
one string had to serve to produce the tone for two 
or three different keys. These instruments were 
called " gebunden," or fretted. Later instruments 
are " bund frei " or free, having a string for each key. 
The clavichord plaver could feel the elasticity of the 
wire string, and could produce a sort of vibration of 
tone by employing the same method as that used in 
playing the violin, a pressure and vibration of the 
fleshy end of the finger while the note was held. 

258 Furniture of the Olden Time 

The tone of the clavichord was very delicate, and it 
afforded far more power of expression than the 
spinet or harpsichord, which, however, were more 
brilliant, and entirely superseded the weaker clavi- 
chord in England. In Germany the clavichord has 
always been a favorite instrument, even into the 
nineteenth century. It is probable that but few clavi- 
chords came to this country. 

The piano e forte — soft and loud — was invented 
about 1720. The strings of the piano are struck by 
hammers instead of being picked by quills, and the 
force of the hammer strokes made a stronger frame 
necessary than that of the spinet or harpsichord, in 
order to hold the heavier strings. 

Brissot de Warville wrote in 1788 that in Boston 
"one sometimes hears the forte piano, though the 
art is in its infancy." He then soulfully bursts 
forth, " God grant that the Bostonian women may 
never, like those of France, acquire the malady of 
perfection in this art. It is never attained but at the 
expense of the domestic virtues." According to this 
the domestic virtues must be a scarce quality in Boston 
at the present time. 

In 1792 Messrs. Dodd & Claus, musical instru- 
ment manufacturers, 66 Queen Street, New York, 
announced that " the forte piano is become so fash- 
ionable in Europe that few polite families are with- 
out it." As this country kept pace with Europe in 
the fashions, we can assume that the forte piano 
formed at the close of the eighteenth century a part 
of the furniture of the polite famihes of the United 

Musical Instruments 



The date of a piano can be approximately deter- 
...ined by its legs. The earliest pianos had four 
slender legs similar to the legs of the spinet or harp- 
sichord. The next instruments had six legs, m- 
creased in size and fluted or carved. Then the 
number was reduced to four, and the legs were still 
larger, and more elaborately carved, until by 1840 
the ugly legs found commonly upon the square 
piano were the only styles employed. 

lllus. 220. — Clementi Piano. 1805 

Illustration 220 is a fine example of an early piano- 
forte. Like the spinet and clavichord, the body 
of the instrument is separate from the lower frame, 
which is fastened together at the corners with large 
screws Hke a bedstead. This may have been for 


PROPEr " 1 

26o Furniture of the Olden Time 

convenience in transportation, and it is possible that 
while the top containing the works was imported, 
the supporting frame may have been made in this 
country. There are four slender inlaid legs, and one 
pedal, and under the body of the piano runs a most 
convenient shelf for music. The case is of mahog- 
any, with rows of fine inlaying in colors, having 
two rows of different width around the top of the 
lid. The board above the keys is of satinwood, and 
it has, beside the delicate frets at each side, charmingly 
painted garlands of sweet pease, a flower very pop- 
ular in England at that time, about 1805. The 
name plate has the inscription " Mvizio Clementi & 
Co., Cheapside, London," and the number of the 
piano is 36^2- It measures sixty-seven inches in 
length, and has a compass of five and one-half oc- 
taves. There is a line of inlaying around the inside 
of this piano, which is finished carefully in every 
detail. The music-rack is of simple form like the 
rack in Illustration 221. The music may also rest, 
as in the illustration, upon the edge of the lid, when 
put back. This piano is owned by the writer, who 
bought it in Falmouth, Massachusetts. It was said 
to be the first piano brought into Falmouth, or upon 
the " Cape," and in looking at this dainty instrument, 
which had never left the room in which it found its 
home, a hundred years ago, one can imagine the 
wonder and envy of the little seaport village when a 
whaling captain, after a successful voyage, gave the 
piano to his daughter. Nothing could sound more 
quaint than a Gliick or Mozart minuet played upon 
its tinkling keys. 

Musical Instruments 


The founder of the Astor family about 1790 to 
1800 made one branch of his business the import- 
ing of pianos, which were labelled with his name 
and which are quite commonly met with. Illus- 
tration 221 shows an Astor piano owned by Mrs. 
Sanford Tappan of Newburyport. The style of 
this piano is similar to that of the " Clementi " in 

Illus. 221.— Astor Piano, 1790-1800. 

Illustration 220, but it lacks the delicate ornamenta- 
tion of the Clementi piano. In the Columbian Centi- 
nel of 1806 is an advertisement with a woodcut of an 
instrument very like this. 

There is an Astor piano in Salem, described as 
having four legs in the front, indicating that it was 
made as late as 181 5. It had two pedals, one being 
used to prolong the tones. The other pedal served 


Furniture of the Olden Time 


^ 4" ^¥%' 

^^ ill K/- 

^C— f _Dii^E 




^^^^HK-'. '>^::^^^b3S 






IIlus. 222. — Clementi Piano, about 1820. 

to produce a novel and taking effect, by lifting a 
section of the top of the piano lid, which was then 
allowed to fall suddenly, the slamming serving to 
imitate the firing of cannon. The young lady who 
owned the piano created a great sensation by playing 
battle pieces with this startling accompaniment. 

Illustration 222 shows the change in the legs, this 
piano having six legs, which are considerably larger. 
The piano was made by Clementi, and is numbered 
10522. It is of light mahogany, and has a row of 
dark mahogany veneer around its frame. The feet 
and tops of the six legs are of brass, like the handles 
to the three drawers, and a brass moulding goes 
around the frame. The piano stool, also of ma- 

Musical Instruments 263 

hosany, is of a somewhat later date^ This piano 
and stool are owned by W. S. G. Kennedy, Esq., 
of Worcester. This style of piano was m use trom 
1820 to 1830. 

Illus. 223^^CombinaUon Piano, Desk, and Toilet-lable. abom 1800, 

Illustration 223 shows one of the cunous com- 
binations which the cabinet-makers °f^bout 1800 
seemed to be so fond of designing. Their books 
have complicated drawings of tables --^ desks Nvih 
mechanical devices for transfornnng 'he sm pie- 
looking piece of furniture into one tuU ot compart 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

ments, drawers, and boxes, with contrivances which 
allow surprising combinations to spring out. Shera- 
ton, who was a shrewd observer, said, " A fanciful- 
ness seems most peculiar, to the taste of females " ; 
and this piece of furniture was made, apparently to 
appeal to that " fancifulness." Between the works 

Illus. 224. — Piano, about 1830. 

of the piano and the cover is a tray divided into 
compartments to hold toilet and writing utensils, 
ink-bottle, sand-sifter, stationery, pins, and sewing- 
implements, and over the keyboard rests a long 
tray for similar articles. These trays can be re- 
moved when the piano is to be used. There is a 
front panel which lets down, forming a writing-table. 

Musical Instruments 267 

and a mirror is set in the hct of the rest that sup- 
ports the hd when raised. Thus the lady for whom 
all this was designed, after using it as a dressing- 
table, could plav the piano and look at her own 
pretty face in the mirror while she played and sang 
This' combination of piano, dressing-table, and 
writing-desk is owned by the Rev. James H. Dar- 
lington, D.D., of Brooklyn, New York. 

In 1829 the manufacture of pianofortes had in- 
creased so that during that year twenty-five hundred 
pianos were made in the United States, chiefly in 
New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. 

The piano in Illustration 224 belongs to Mrs. Ada 
Grisier of Auburn, Indiana, and is an unusually fine 
specimen of the six-legged piano fashionable about 
18^0 The case is of mahogany and is inlaid with 
lines of brass, while around the body run two rows, 
of different width, of brass moulding. The kgs are 
large, and elaborately carved, and are set in brass 
standards. On each corner of the frame is a design 
in gilt There is one wooden pedal, and the range 
of the piano is five and one-half octaves. The name 
of the maker has been obliterated. 

The piano in Illustration 225 is owned bv Mrs. 
Louis M. Priest of Salem, New York. The body is 
of rosewood inlaid with brass, the lid being ot 
mahogany, like the elaborately carved trestle-shaped 
supports.' It has two drawers for holding music 
and one pedal, the standard for which isa carved 
lyre with a mirror behind its strings. The key- 
board has a range of six octaves. The name upon 
the front is Peter Erben, 103 Pump St., New York. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

Peter Erben was a music-teacher whose address from 
1826 to 1827 was 103 Pump Street, which deter- 
mines the date of this piano. The writer knows 
of four pianos with the carved mahogany trestle- 
supports, all with the name of Peter Erben as 
maker, though it is probable that, like modern 
pianos, the works were bought, and whoever wished 
might have his name upon the name-plate, since 
Peter Erben is in the New York directories for 
thirty years as " Musick teacher " or " Professor of 
musick " only. 

The piano-stool in Illustration 226 was made to 
use with the piano in Illustration 225. The wide 

spread to the three feet 
gives the effect of a table 
base, but there is no doubt 
that this was made origi- 
nally to use for a piano- 
stool. The little weather- 
beaten house, in which 
the piano and stool had 
always stood, possesses a 
ghost story of a young girl 
who was starved to death 
by her miser brother, 
and who was said to 
haunt the house. This 
piano and stool give the 
impression of the reverse of a miser, and the poor 
ghost must have been before their day. The stool 
is now owned by the writer, but is neither practical 
nor comfortable, the feet being much in the way. 

Illus. 226. — Piano-stool, 

Musical Instruments 


Illustration 227 shows a piano of most elaborate 
design, made about 1826. There is no maker's 
name upon the piano. The frame is of mahogany 
and has a brass moulding around the body, and 
brass rosette handles to the drawers. Around each 
square carved panel upon the front legs is a brass 

lllus. 227. — Piano. 1826. 

beading, and the lions' claws on the front legs and 
the sockets upon the back legs are of brass. The 
front legs are elaborately carved like table bases, 
and the three pedals have a support that is a cross 
between a lyre and a wreath. The keyboard has 
six octaves, and the music-rack is very simple. 

ayo Furniture of the Olden Time 

Illustration 228 shows two piano-stools made be- 
tween 1825 and 1830. The stool with four fluted 
legs was sold with a piano made by Wood, Small, 
& Co., of London, which has six legs fluted in the 
same manner. The other stool has a base like the 
claw-and-pillar table, and the sides of the seat are 
carved dolphins, whose tails turn up and support a 

Illus. 228. — Piano-Stools. 1825-1830. 

carved rail to form a low back for the seat. This 
stool belongs to the writer. 

The "table piano" in Illustration 229 is marked 
as being made by John Charters, Xenia, Ohio, 
which alone would attract attention, aside from the 
curious construction of the base, which places the 
date of the piano about 1835. The pedals are quite 
concealed as one stands by this piano, and the whole 

Musical Instruments 


design is clumsy and poor. The music-rack seems 
to have remained unchanged for many years, and 
from the earliest piano shown, made in 1800, until 
the large square piano of 1840, the music-rack is the 
same, simply constructed of four pieces of wood which 
are put together with pivots, so that by pushing 

Illus. 229. 

■Table Piano, about 1835. 

one end of the top piece they all slide and fold down 
together, in order that the piano may be closed. 

Illustration 230 shows a Chickerino; piano made in 
1^33? o^ ^ design entirely different trom the other 
pianos shown, and of great elegance and richness. 
The mahoganv case is inlaid with heavy bands of 
plain brass, and the legs are pillars with Ionic capitals. 

272 Furniture of the Olden Time 

The music-rack is of the same simple form as the 
one upon the preceding piano, and the one pedal is 
fastened into a harp-shaped support. 

Illus. 230. — Chickering Piano. 1833. 

Illustration 231 shows a music stand made about 
1835, owned by Mrs. John D. Wing, of Millbrook, 
New York. The rest for the music is of the favor- 
ite lyre shape, which seems especially adapted to 
this purpose. The stand is of mahogany and is 
very pretty and graceful. 

Musical Instruments 


Illustration 232 shows a music-stand owned by 
Dwight Blaney, Esq., of Boston. It is of mahogany, 
and its date is about 1835. ^^^ upper part with 
the music-rest can be lowered or raised, and is held 
in place by pins thrust through the small holes in 

lllus. 231. — Music-stand, 
about 1835. 

lllus. 232. — Music-stand, 
about 1835. 

the supports. The stand is somewhat heavy in 
effect, but very firm and secure. 

Illustration 233 shows a dulcimer which is in the 
Deerfield Museum. It has an extremely plain case, 
and must have been, when new, an inexpensive in- 



Furniture of the Olden Time 

strument. The dulcimer of early times was a small, 
triangular-shaped instrument, to be laid upon a table. 
Above the sounding-board were stretched wire strings, 
which were struck with small hammers held in the 
hand, and doubtless the piano was first suggested by 

lllus. 233 

the dulcimer and its hammers. The heads of the 
hammers were covered with hard and soft leather to 
give a loud or soft tone. The instrument in the 
illustration was probably made from 1826 to 1830, 

Musical Instruments 


during which time the dulcimer was quite popular, 
especially in the country, where the piano was too 
costly a luxury. Music-books were published for the 
dulcimer,and it 
retained some 
popularity in 
country vil- 
lages until 
ousted by the 

234 shows a 
set of musical 
glasses called a 
harmonica. The 
fine ladies in 
" The Vicar of 
would talk of 
nothing but 
"pictures, taste, 
and the musi- 
cal glasses." 
This was in 
1 76 1, and the 
musical glasses 
were fashionable before that, for Gliick in 1746 played 
" a concerto on twenty-six drinking glasses, tuned 
with spring water." Franklin invented an instru- 
ment for the musical glasses, which he called the 
Armonica, for which famous composers wrote music. 

Illus. 234. 

Harmonica, or Musical Glasses, 
about 1820. 

276 Furniture of the Olden Time 

and in which the glasses were arranged upon a rod 
which turned with a crank, while below was a trough 
of water which moistened the glasses as they dipped 
into it. 

In Watson's " Annals " is a description of a visit to 
Franklin in Paris. It says, "He conducted me 
across the room to an instrument of his own inven- 
tion, which he called the ' Armonica.' The music 
was produced by a peculiar combination of hemi- 
spherical glasses. He played upon it and performed 
some Scotch pastorales with great effect. The exhi- 
bition was truly striking ; to contemplate an eminent 
statesman, in his seventy-sixth year, and the most 
distinguished philosopher of the age, performing a 
simple pastorale on an instrument of his own con- 
struction." This instrument seems to have disap- 
peared, but covered boxes upon stands similar to the 
one in the illustration are met with occasionally. 
They are of a later date, and this one must have 
been made about 1820. The twenty-four glasses 
are of different sizes, and are tuned by the amount 
of water in each. The finger is dipped in the water and 
rubbed on the edge of the glass, producing a sound 
unlike that of any other musical instrument and of 
penetrating tone. The writer once heard several 
songs played upon the harmonica, and the remem- 
brance is one that is unfading, of a beautiful white- 
haired woman whose spirituelle face was a delight to 
watch, bending over the box of glasses, and with her 
slender fingers and the clear glass producing the most 
ethereal, far-off sounding music, beside which the 
piano and violin seemed earthly and commonplace. 

Musical Instruments 


The stand and box in this illustration are of mahog- 
any, and as a piece of furniture the piece is most 

Illustration 235 shows a harp-shaped piano, made 

by Andre Stein, d' Augsburg. It is owned by B. J. 

Lang, Esq., of Boston, and was made 

I' -"^^^^ about 1800. Pianos of this style 
^^^ are occasionally found in this coun- 
.^^k try. The shape of the top shows 
""^^ how the strings run, the effect 
, ^L being similar to a grand piano 

'^ll^.';- ^ stood upon its end. The silk 
^^j^l^J^ draperies are the original ones, 
^■L\^^ and are faded from red to a 
^CjJL soft dead leaf color, which 
ll^j^ is most artistic and har- 

^^^Jj^^^^ monious. The six 
- ^Bi^^M i pedals are supposed 
to produce differ- 
ent effects to cor- 
respond with the 
following names : 
fagotti, piano, 
forte, pianissimo, 
triangle, cinelle. 

l^he upright 
piano, known 
then as a cottage 

Illus. 235. — Harp-shaped Piano, about 1800. pi^no, was in- 
vented in 1800. Illustration 236 shows a small 
upricrht piano said to have belonged to Lady Mor- 
gan,^he " wild Irish girl." The case is an exquisite 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

example of the work of an English cabinet-maker, 
from I 800 to 1 8 10, and may have been that of Sher- 
aton himself The lower panels are of satinwood, 
with the frame and the oval piece in the centre of 

Illus. 236. — Cottage Piano, or Upright, 1800-1810. 

mahogany, outlined with ebony and white holly. 
The upper middle panel is filled with a sunburst 
made of pleated silk. The side-panels are of satin- 
wood, framed in bird's-eye maple, outlined with 
mahogany, and the ovals in the centres are of ma- 
hogany, with fine lines of ebony and white holly. 

lllus. 238. — Piano, about 1840. 

Musical Instruments 


^^^^'^ ^if 

Altogether, it is as dainty an instrument as any lady 
could wish for her boudoir. 

Illustration 237 shows a Chickering upright piano 
made in 1830. The frame is of mahogany, and the 
front of the upper part is filled with a sunburst 

made of pleated silk, J^— .^ 

from which this style ^p 
of piano was some- / 
times called a sun- 
burst piano. 

A very beautiful 
and ornamental piano 
is shown in Illustra- 
tion 238, owned by 
James H. Darling- 
ton, D.D., of Brook- 
lyn, New York. The 
body of the piano is 
made of rosewood. 
The strings are ar- 
ranged like those in 
a grand piano, but 
the sounding - board 
extends only the dis- 
tance of the piano 

body; above that the r u t-u 

strings are exposed like those of a harp. 1 he 
wooden frame upon which the wires are strung is 
supported bv a post of wood elaborately carved and 
gilded The keyboard has a range of seven octaves. 
Upon the inside of the cover is the inscription 
" New York Piano Company — Kohn patent. 

Illus. 237.— Chickering Upright Piano, 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

The story is that a piano-maker in New York 
vowed he would make the most beautiful piano in 
the world. One like this was the result, and it was 
bought by A. T. Stewart, at that time, about 1840, 
the merchant prince of New York. Six others were 
made like the original piano, and they are scattered 
over the country, one being in the Brown collection 
of musical instruments in the Metropolitan Art 
Museum of New York. 

lllus. 239. — Hawkey Square Piano, about 1845. 

Illustration 239 shows the form in which the 
square piano was finally made, and which, with few 
variations, continued fashionable until the introduc- 
tion of the present style of upright pianos, since when 

Musical Instruments 


there have been practically no square pianos manu- 
factured. This piano was made bv Henry Hawkey 
of New York, about 1845, ^'^^ '^ ^^ noteworthy be- 
cause the keys are made of mother-of-pearl, and the 
scrolls above the keyboard are inlaid in mother-of- 
pearl. The case is covered 
with rosewood veneering, 
and the legs are large and 
clumsy. The music-rack 
and pedal support are simi- 
lar in style to those now 
in use. 

Proficiency upon the 
piano and spinet would 
appear to have comprised 
the chief accomplishments 
in instrumental music of 
the young ladies of the 
eighteenth and early nine- 
teenth centuries, as far as 
we can judge bv mention 
of such accomplishments. 
But it seems reasonable 
to suppose that where a 
few English ladies em- 
ployed their fair hands 
upon the harp, there were 
not lacking a similar num- 
ber of Americans who 
also appreciated the oppor- 
tunity which that classic 
instrument affords of dis- iiius. 240. — Harp. 1780-1790. 

284 Furniture of the Olden Time 

plaving the grace and beauty of a rounded arm 
and wrist. Even in our own day, the Hst of those 
who play the harp is restricted, and it must have 
been the same in early days, hence the lack of 
allusions to the harp. When Lady Morgan, the 
"wild Irish girl," was creating such a sensation in 
London with her harp-playing, it is certain that 
she had imitators in this country. 

Christopher Columbus Baldwin, in his diary of 
1832, speaks of Madam Papanti, who at that time 
lived in Worcester with her husband, the famous 
dancing-teacher. She gave music lessons, possibly 
upon the harp, for Mr. Baldwin tells of her play- 
ing that instrument upon Sundays at Dr. Bancroft's 
church, while her husband played the French horn, 
" which, with two flutes, a base viol, and violin, make 
very good musick." 

Illustration 240 shows a very beautiful harp made 
previous to 1800, belonging to Mrs. Reed Lawton 
of Worcester. In construction it is not very differ- 
ent from the modern harp, although considerably 
smaller. It is exquisitely carved, and instead of 
being gilded is painted in colors, and finished with 
a varnish like the vernis martin, the general effect 
being a golden brown. The harp which Marie 
Antoinette played upon is still preserved, and is 
very like this one. 



'HEN wood was 
plentiful and easily 
lered, the fireplace 
was built of generous pro- 
portions. At the back, lying 
in the ashes, was the back- 
log, sometimes so huge that 
a chain was attached to it, 
and it was dragged in by a 
horse. The forestick rested 
upon the' andirons, and small 
sticks filled the space be- 

J ■ ■[ tween backlog and forestick. 

tjI d In the wall beside the fire- 

place was built the brick 
oven, in which the baking 
was done. Upon baking 
day a wood fire was made 
inside this oven, and when 
the oven was thoroughly 
heated, the coals were re- 
moved, and the bread placed 

upon the oven bottom to bake leisurely. The tin 

kitchen was set before the fire, and pies and bread 



Furniture of the Olden Time 

upon its shelves were cooked by the heat 
and radiated from the tin hood. 

Illustration 241 shows a great 
kitchen fireplace in the Whipple 
house at Ipswich, built in 1650, 
with the tin kitchens in front of the 
fire, and the ket- 
tles and pots 
hanging over it, 
and the various 
kitchen utensils 
around it. 

Fire - dogs or 
andirons are men- 
tioned in theearli- 


Illus. 242. — Andirons, 
Eighteenth Century. 

est mventories. 
The name "fire- 
dogs" came from 
the heads of ani- 
mals with which 
the irons were 
"Andirons" is a 
word corrupted 
fro m "hand 
irons," although 
some inventories speak of end-irons. Kitchen and- 
irons were of iron similar to the ones in Illustration 
241, but for the other fireplaces they were made 

Illus. 243. — Andirons, Eighteenth Century. 

Fires and Lights 


of steel, copper, or brass, and in England even of 

Illustration 242 shows a pair of andirons, with 
shovel and tongs, owned by Francis H. Bigelow, 
Esq. The andirons are " rights and lefts," and 
have the brass knobs to prevent the forestick from 
falling forward. Illustration 243 shows another pair 
belonging to Mr. Bigelow, with claw-and-ball feet 
and the twisted flame top. 7 hese are given as crood 
examples of the 
best styles of and- 
irons in use in well- 
to-do households in 
America during the 
seventeenth century. 

Illustration 244 
shows a pair of 
" Hessians " made 
of iron. Andirons 
of this style were 
very popular im- 
mediatelv after the 
Revolutionary War, 
the figures of the 
hated allies of the British thus receiving the 
treatment with flame and ashes that Americans con- 
sidered the originals to merit, to sav nothing of 
worse indignities cast upon them by the circle of 
tobacco-smoking patriots. 

Andirons were made of different heights, and 
sometimes two or more sets were used in one fire- 
place, to hold larger and smaller sticks. Creepers 

Illus. 244. — " Hessian " Andirons, 1776. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

are mentioned in early inventories. They were low 
irons placed between the andirons, to hold short 

As wood grew less plentiful, and as the forests 
near by were cleared away, it was not so easy to 
obtain the huge backlog and the great pile of sticks 
to fill the generous fireplace, and by the middle 

Illus. 245. — Fireplace, 1770-1775. 

of the eighteenth century its size had diminished. 
Many of the larger ones were partially filled in. 
The fireplace in the Ipswich Whipple house, when 
the house was bought by the society which now 
owns it, had been bricked in twice — once to make 
the space less, and the second time to fill it in 
entirely and put a fire-frame in its place. Chim- 

Fires and Lights 


neys which did not smoke were the exception until 
Count Rumtord made his researches in heat and 
light, and by his discoveries and improvements in 
construction enabled our ancestors to have chimnevs 
which did not smoke, and which did not carry up 
the greater portion of the heat from the fire. 

Illustration 245 shows a fireplace in Salem of 
about 1775, with ball-topped andirons. The sets 
for the fireplace comprised the andirons, shovel, and 
tongs. The poker never accompanied the older 
sets, which were made before the use of coal as fuel 
had become common in this country, but a pair of 
bellows generally formed a part of the equipment 
of the fireplace. 

Illustration 246 shows a fireplace in the residence 
of Harry Harkness Flagler, Esq., with a brass fen- 
der and a pair ot 
andirons. Fenders 
were used in England 
earlier than in this 
country, to keep the 
sticks or coals of fire 
from rolling or fly- 
ing out upon the 
floor in front of the 
fireplace, and to prevent children from getting into 
the fire. Their size was adapted to the reduced 
dimensions of the fireplaces, and they were used 
more with coal fires than with wood. 

With the smaller fireplace, and consequentlv 
smaller chimney, came the more elaborate chimney 

lUus. 24b. — Steeple-topped Andirons 
and Fender. 1775-1790. 

292 Furniture of the Olden Time 

or mantelpiece, of which Isaac Ware said, in 1750: 
" With us no article in a well-furnished room is so 
essential. The eve is immediately cast upon it in 
entering, and the place of sitting down is naturally 
near it. By this means it becomes the most eminent 
thing in the furnishing of an apartment." 

By 1650 the use of coal had become common in 
England, from the scarcity and expense of wood as 
a fuel, and fireplaces were constructed for coal fires 
from that time. The early designers put forth their 
best efforts upon the chimnevpiece. 

Firebacks were made for fireplaces, of iron, some- 
times cast with the coat of arms of the owner or the 
date of construction. At Mount Vernon is a fire- 
back with the Fairfax coat of arms which Washing- 
ton took from Belvoir, the estate of Lord Fairfax, 
adjoining Mount Vernon. 

Illustration 247 shows a chimneypiece in the west 
parlor at Mount Vernon. Washington's coat of 
arms is carved at the top, and his crest and initials 
are cast in the fireback. In the panel over the 
mantel is a painting which was sent to Lawrence 
Washington in 1743, by Admiral Vernon, in ac- 
knowledgment of the courtesv in naming the estate 
Mount Vernon. The painting represents Admiral 
Vernon's fleet at Cartagena. 

About 1750 the hob-grate was invented. Illus- 
tration 248 shows a mantel and fireplace with a hob- 
grate in the house of Charles R. Waters, Esq., of 
Salem. The fireplace was filled in with brick or . 
stone at each side, and the grate set between. The 
bars, of course, are of iron for holding coal, and the 


lllus. 247. — i..a;.;- 

Vernon. 1760-1770. 

Fires and Lights 


ides of the grate are of brass. These were a first 
.ailed " cat-stones " to distinguish them from fire- 
dogs " but later they were named " hob-grates. 



lllus. 248.— Mantel with Hob-grate. 1776. 

Below the grate is a small brass fender to prevent 
the ashes from scattering, and around the fireplace 
is a fender of iron wire with brass rails and teet. 

296 Furniture of the Olden Time 

The hob-grate was more in use in the South than 
in the North. 

In 1745, after many experiments, and goaded to 
it by the smoking chimneys and wasted heat of the 
fireplace, Franklin invented the stove in use ever 
since, called the Franklin stove or grate. Illustra- 
tion 249 shows a Franklin stove in the Warner house 
at Portsmouth. The fireplace, faced with tiles, was 
originally built to burn wood, but when the new- 
fashioned Franklin stove became popular, one was 
bought and set into the fireplace, the front of the 
stove projecting into the room. The stove is made 
of iron, with the three rosettes, the open-work rail 
at the top, the large knobs in front and the small 
knobs at the back, of brass, which every good house- 
keeper kept as brightly polished as the brass and- 
irons and the handles of the shovel and tongs. At 
each side of the fireplace are the original brass rests 
for the shovel and tongs. 

Later in the century the fireplace was filled in 
with a board or bricks, and what was called a fire- 
frame was used. It was similar to the upper part 
of a Franklin stove ; the back and sides of iron, 
somewhat larger than those of the Franklin stove, 
resting directly upon the stone hearth, giving the 
effect of an iron fireplace in front of the old one. 
Oftentimes in an old house may be found a large 
fireplace filled in, with the iron fire-frame in front 
of it, that in its turn superseded by a stove placed 
with its pipe passing through the fire-frame. Illus- 
tration 250 shows a fire-frame in the Wayside Inn 
at Sudbury, Massachusetts. 

Fires and Lights 


Candles and whale oil, with pine-wood knots pro- 
vided the light for the Pilgrim fathers, aside from 
that thrown out by the great wood fire. Candle- 
sticks formed a necessary part of the furnishmgs ot 
a house Thev were made of brass, iron, tin, pew- 

lllus. 250. — Iron Fire-frame, 1775-1800. 

ter, and silver, but candlesticks of brass were the 
ones in most general use. 

The earliest^orm of lamp in use in the colonies 
was what is known as a " betty lamp and it must 
have been a most untidy httle utensil, giving but a 
meagre light. Illustration 251 shows several bettv 
S owned by the writer. The smallest is o 
\rol two and a half inches in diameter, with a nose 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

projecting one inch and a quarter beyond the re- 
ceptacle for grease or fat. A chain and hook are 

attached to the 
handle, by which 
the lamp was hung 
upon a chair-back 
or a nail. The 
wick, made of a 
twisted cotton rag, 
was placed with its 
end protruding 
from the nose of 
the lamp, and pro- 
vided a dull, poor 
flame. Another 
lamp has the chain 
and the receptacle 
for grease made of 
brass, while the 
handle, the hook 
by which it was to 
hang, and the pin 
for cleaning the 
lamp, attached to 
the chain, are of 
steel. The bottom 
of the brass re- 
ceptacle is of cop- 
per. There is a 
cover to the front 
, part of this lamp, 

ifus. 251.— Betty Lamps, Seventeenth ^° ^^at the interior 


lllus. 252. — Candle-Stands, first half of Eighteenth Century. 

Fires and Lights 303 

can be cleaned, and the piece of steel forming the 
handle runs through the interior of the lamp, the 
end providing a nose for the wick just inside of 
the brass one, thus allowing the drippings from 
the wick to drain back into the receptacle. The 
lamp with a standard has an iron rod, upon which 
the lamp can slide up and down, with a ring at 
the top of the rod to lift it by. The fourth betty 
lamp is hung upon an old wooden ratchet intended 
for that purpose. The ratchet is made of two 
strips of wood, one cut with saw-teeth edge, which 
can be raised and lowered to place the lamp at the 
desired height. Betty lamps were in use during 
the seventeenth centurv, and much later than that 
in the South. 

As early as 1696, inventories mention a " Candle- 
stand for two brass candlesticks." Illustration 252 
shows two of these candle-stands in the collection 
of the late Major Ben Perley Poore at Indian Hill. 
The larger stand is made of iron, and was fashioned 
by the local blacksmith, near Indian Hill. It was 
taken by the grandfather of Major Poore to Har- 
vard University when he went there a student in 
1776. The tongs hanging upon this stand are a 
smoker's tongs, tor lifting a coal from the fire to 
light the pipe, the curved end on one side of the 
handle being used to press the tobacco into the pipe, 
or to clean it out. The three feet of the other stand 
are of iron, and the pole, candlesticks, and two pairs 
of snuffers are of brass. These stands probably w^ere 
made during the first half of the eighteenth century. 
The room, a corner of which shows in the illustra- 

304 Furniture of the Olden Time 

tion, is fitted with panels from the " Province 
House," the home at one time of Agnes Surriage. 
The pillars showing behind the candle-stands were 
taken from the old Brattle Street Church in Boston 
when it was pulled down. One end of a Sheraton 

lllus. 253. — Mantel with Candle Shades, 1775-1800. 

sofa may be seen in the picture, and several of the 
illustrations for this book were taken in this fine 

Illustration 253 shows a mantel in the house of 
Mrs. Johnson-Hudson at Stratford, Connecticut. 
The looking-glass in this illustration is described 
upon page 337. Upon the shelf are two candle- 
sticks, over which are large glass shades used to 
protect the candle flame from draughts. These 
shades are now being reproduced, and it is almost 
impossible to tell the old from the new. The clock 

Fires and Lights 


upon the shelf is a very old English one, but the 
reflections upon the glass cover make it difficult to 
see the clock. The effect of this mantel, with the 
glass shades, all reflected in the looking-glass, is 
most brilliant. 1 he candlesticks are of Sheffield 
plate, about one hundred years old. 

lUus. 254. — Candlesticks, 1775-1800. 

Illustration 254 shows two candlesticks owned by 
the writer. The one shaped like a mug with a 
handle is of Sheffield plate, and was made for use 
in a sick-room or any place where it was necessary 
to burn a light during the entire night. There 
should be a glass chimney to fit into the candle- 
stick and protect the flame from draughts. The 
open-work band around the candlestick allowed 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

the passage of air, thus insuring a clear flame. The 
long-handled extinguisher upon the rest provided 
for it, was to put out the light of a candle which 

was protected by a 
chimney or by glass 
shades such as are in 
Illustration 253. The 
other candlestick is 
of brass, with extin- 
guisher and snuffers 
which were made to 
fit the candlestick, 
the ordinary handle- 
less extinguisher serv- 
ing to put out the 
flame of any candle 
unprotected by a 
chimney or shade. 

In 1784 a French- 
man named Argand 
invented the lamp 
still called by his 
name. The first Ar- 
gand lamp brought 
to this country was 
given by Thomas Jefferson to Charles Thomson. 
These lamps gave what was then considered to be a 
brilliant and even dazzling light, but their price 
placed them beyond the reach of ordinary folk, 
who continued to use tallow candles. Wax candles 
were burned by the wealthy, in candlesticks and 
sconces, and occasionally in chandeliers. 

Illus. 255. — Crystal Chandelier, 
about 1760. 


Fires and Lights 

Illustration 255 shows a rich 
chandelier for candles, in the War- 
ner house, at Portsmouth. It was 
probably brought to this country 
about 1765, the same date that 
other handsome furnishings were 
bought for this house. The metal 
work of this chandelier is of 
brass. Chandeliers with glass drops 
are spoken of in the sixteenth cen- 
tury, coming from Venice. 

Illustration 256 shows one of the 
pair of beau- 
tiful lamps 
which are 
fastened to 
the wall 
above the 
mantel of the 
banquet hall 
at Mount 
Vernon, and 
which were in 
use there 
during the 
life of Wash- 
ington. They 
are made of 
silver, with 
the reservoir for oil of a graceful urn shape. 

" Skreans " are mentioned in very early invento- 
ries, and indeed they must have been a necessity, to 

lllus. 256. 

Silver Lamp from Mount Vernon, 





Furniture of the Olden Time 

protect the face from 
the intense heat of 
the large open fire. 
They afforded then, 
as now, an opportu- 
nity for the display of 
feminine handiwork. 
The dainty little fire- 
screen in Illustration 
257 was made about 
1780, and is owned 
by Mrs. Johnson- 
Hudson of Stratford, 
Connecticut. The 
frame and stand are 
of mahogany, and the 
spreading legs are un- 
usually slender and 
graceful. The em- 
broidered screen was 
wrought by the 
daughters of Dr. 
William Samuel 
Johnson, the first 
president of Colum- 
bia University. The 
same young girls em- 
broidered the top of 
the card-table in Il- 
lustration 199, and 

Illus. 257. — Embroidered 
Screen, 1780. 

Fires and Lights 


the work is done with the same patient industry and 
skill The vase which is copied in the embroidery is 
of Delft, and is still owned in the family. 

lllus. 258. — Candle-Stand and Screen, 1750-1775. 

Screens were sometimes made of a piece of wood 
perforated, in order that the heat might not be en 
drely shut off. Illustration 258 shows one of these 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

screens in the collection of the late Major Ben Perley 
Poore. Both the screen and the candle-stand in the 
illustration are made of ma- 
hogany. The candlestick upon 
the stand is a curious one, of 
brass, with a socket for the 
candle set upon an adjustable 
arm, which also slides upon 
a- slender rod, which is fastened 
into the heavily weighted stand- 
ard. Both screen and candle- 
stand were made in the latter 
half of the eighteenth century. 
Candle-stands were designed by 
all the great cabinet-makers, and 
in those days of candle-light 
they were a useful piece of 

A candle-stand in the finest 
Chippendale style is shown in 
Illustration 259, It is one of 
a pair owned by Harry Hark- 
ness Flagler, Esq. The inten- 
tion was presumably that a 
candle-stand with candelabrum 
should be placed at each side 
of the mantel. A pair of 
candle-stands similar to this are 
in the banquet hall at Mount 
Vernon, and are among the 
, , few pieces of furniture there 

lUus. 259. — Chippendale 1 • 1 1 • ,1 

Candle-stand, 1760-1770. which are authenticated as hav- 


Fires and Lights 


ing been in use during Washington's occupancy 
of the house. The candle-stand in the ilkistration 
is forty-two inches high, and its proportions are 
beautiful. The legs and the ball at the base of 
the fluted pillar are very finely carved. The legs 
end in the French foot, the scroll turning forward, 
which was such a favorite with Chippendale. The 
top is carved out so that there is a raised rim, 
like that upon the "dish-top" table in Illustra- 
tion 194. 

The first recorded instance in this country of 
lighting by artificial gas is in 1806, when David 

Illus. 260. — Bronze Mantel Lamps, 1815-1840. 

Melville of Newport, Rhode Island, succeeded in 
manufacturing gas, and illuminated his house and 
grounds with it. In 1822 Boston was lighted by 
gas, but it did not come into general use for light- 
ing until 1 840-1 850. 

During the second quarter of the nineteenth cen- 
tury it was fashionable to use candelabra and lamps 
which were hung with cut-glass prisms. Sets of 
candelabra for the mantel were very popular, con- 




312 Furniture of the Olden Time 

sisting of a three-branched candelabrum for the 
middle and a single light for each side. The base 
was usually of marble, and the gilt standard was 
cast m different shapes, — of a shepherd and shep- 
herdess, a group of maidens, or a lady clad in the 
costume of the day. From an ornament at the 
base of the candle, shaped like an inverted crown 

Illus. 261. — Brass Gilt Candelabra, 1820-1849. 

hung sparkling prisms, catching the light as they 
quivered with every step across the room. A hand- 
some set of these is shown in Illustration 248 upon 
the mantel. 

Illustration 260 shows a set of mantel lamps of 
bronze, mounted upon marble bases and hung with 
cut-glass prisms. The reservoir for the oil is be- 
neath the long prisms. This set is owned by Francis 
ti. Bigelow, Esq. 

Fires and Lights 


Illustration 261 shows a fine pair of brass gilt 
candelabra also owned by Mr. Bigelow. They have 
marble bases, and the five 
twisted arms are cast in an 
elaborate design. 

Illustration 262 shows a hall 
lantern which was formerly in 
use in the John Hancock 
house. It is now owned by 
Harry Harkness Flagler, Esq. 
Such lanterns were hung in 
the entry or hall, and were 
made to burn either a lamp 
or candle. " Square glass, 
bell glass, barrel or globe Ian- 
thorns for entries or staircases 
were advertised as early as 
1724, and formed a necessary ^ 

furnishing for the hall of a 111^5.262. — Hall Lantern, 
handsome house. 1775-1800. 



NTIL about 1600, clocks 
were made chiefly for 
public buildings or for the 
very wealthy, who only 
could afford to own them ; but 
with the seventeenth century be- 
gan the manufacture of clocks for 
ordinary use ; these clocks were 
of brass, and were known as 
chamber clocks. The earliest form 

Uin which they were made was 
what is now called the " bird- 
cage " or " lantern " clock. In- 
ventories in this country from 
1638 to 1700 speak of clocks 
with valuations varying from £^1 
to £10^ and occasionally a " brass 
clock " is specified. This must refer, as some of 
the others may also have done, to the lantern clock. 
The lantern clock in Illustration 263 is owned by 
William Meggatt, Esq., of Wethersfield. The illus- 
tration shows the form of the clock, from which it nat- 
urally derived the names " lantern " and " bird-cage." 
The clock is set upon a bracket, and the weights 




hang upon cords or chains passing 
through openings in the shelf; the 
pendulum also swings through a 
slit in the shelf. The dial projects 
beyond the frame of the clock 
and is six inches in diameter, and 
there is but one hand. The dome 
at the top is partially concealed by 
the frets above the body of the 
clock. Different clock-makers had 
frets of their own, and the design 
of the fret is often a guide for de- 
termining the date of such clocks. 
The one upon the clock in Illus- 
tration 263 is what was called the 
"heraldic fret" from the small 
escutcheon in the centre, and it 
was used upon clocks made from 
1600 to 1640. The fret with 
crossed dolphins was in use from 
1650, and is the pattern of fret 
most frequently found upon these 
clocks. The long pendulum must 
have been a later substitution, tor 
it was not commonly used until 
1680, clocks up to the time of its 
invention having the short or 
"bob" pendulum. There is no 
maker's name upon this clock. 

Tllnstration C164. shows a " Ian- 
tern ■• ock in the\ouse of Charles R Waters, Esq., 
Xh has a fret of a later period, and the long pen- 

Ulus. 263.— Lantern 
or Bird-cage Clock, 
First Half of Seven- 
teenth Century. 


Illus. 264. — Lantern Clock, 
about 1680. 


Illus. 265. — Friesland Clock, 
Seventeenth Century. 

Clocks 3^7 

•" ''■'""rrmi'er^'jno'snaJtVAshlrd. This 
„,„,e of the "^f^l'i f clock-makers, so it is 

The clock was made about i6«o. i ne or 
'"tciock which was made during the seventeenth 

century is shown in l^^^^lV^L c cks ofthis 

as a Friesland dock f™m th- Jacyh^ ^^^^ 

stvle are common in the "orm o 

been in use there over two centunes 1 n P 

,un, of this clock swmgs ^^ove the she 

frame rests upon four -od " J ^Jj „\",t„,ents are 

""'de^^f ;::i°'tht on JentlXing gilded, exce^. 
made or leaa, luc v. nn nted in vivid 

,he parrots at -ch wh ch ar pamtecl^^^^^ ^^^ 

parrot greens The mermaids p ^^^ 

painted in colors, and the »a«J"^° '^^^ F^.e^. 
Uole making a gay bit f deco^^^.^a parrots as 
land clocks generally ^ave n erma.ds a p 

P^" °' f brt°riTn° hfcfnt^fof thtface, which 

i: ITset'^^rtt'alarm. ^^tl^lt^.T^Va- 
„se in the -venteenth «n ury n th,s -"" J;P ^,^^^ 
blv hav ng been brought nere uy 
tL clod is owned ^Y '^e wruer 

Bracket clocks were "^^^e during the ast > 

the seventeenth «"W'->\"'^'^™:°ethteenth century, 
were very popular during '^e e.gWeent ^ 

They generally have a brass handle ^^^'Vith 
which they can be carried. A bracKet 

318 Furniture of the Olden Time 

the dial, with 'the na^e D fnll Rav S I""''^'' °''' 
bly an English clock-maC Th^; ct k^Jar'r 
about 1760 ^ ^^^ ^'"ade 

made in the arch form 
instead of the bell top 
like the clock in Illus- 
tration 292, and this a 
would place its date 

lUus. 266. -Bracket Clocks, 1780-1800 

Btatty"r°- ■^'^^ "'"'' "P°" '^'^ ^l-k, George 
arnalScfoXr^iX;'^" of the owneV. TK 

Tu °^ mahogany 

The earliest mention of tall clocks in inventories 

Clocks 319 

is in the latter part of the seventeenth century where 
he" are always spoken of as " clock and case^ The 
use of the long pendulum was probably the cause 
of the development of the tall clock trom the " Ian- 
ten clock," which had often a wooden hood ove 
t and when the long pendulum came ,nto use m 
,ft8o the lower part of the tall clock-case was made 
o en'c ose the pe'^dulum, and sides and a glass front 
were added to\he hood. The first cases were of 
laTor v^nut, and the dials were squ- but ear y 
in the eighteenth century the arched top was addea 
to the dil, suggested perhaps by the shape of the 

''°The ornaments which fill in the spandrels or 
corners of the face, are somewhat of a to the 
dTte of a brass-fac^d clock. The earhest spandrels 
h.d cherubs- heads with wings, and th,s vva 
used from 167. until 1700. when more ornaments 
Zl add d t J the cherub's head. Later came a st,l 
more elaborate design of two cherubs supporting 
crown, until about 1750, when the scrolls were made 
without the cherubs, but with a shield or head in the 

-i^:l:^::^to.s ... .n clocks which w^e 

las a wealthy resident of Boston in .738 -hen he 
wrote thus to London, ordering a clo k of the 
newest fashion with a good black Walnut Tee Case 
Veneered work, with Dark hvelv b"nches on the 
Top instead of Balls let there be three hat^^^tne 
Carv'd figures. Gilt with burmsh d Gold. I d have 

-■^ '^v "i? 

Illus. 267. -Walnut Case and Lacquered Case Clocks, about 1738. 


Clocks 321 

fhe Case without the figures to be 10 feet Long, the 
prL 5 n^lto exceed .0 Guineas, & as ,fs for my own 
u e I bee your particular Care m buying of ,t at the 
Ch;iUt Rate. I'm advised to apply to one Mr. 
MaT riuke Storr at the foot of Lo"d" Bndge. 

Wh,ch of these -f^^^-^ -"' " V ,™t I'e" 
ase^We e d woTk with DaTk, lively branches" 
h" the name plate of " Bowly, London probab y 
IVvereux Bowlev, who lived from 1696 to 1773 ant" 
who warnLter of the Clock-Makers' Company m 
T-7 CO The gilt ornaments are missing from the top, 
:.^^^e do not\now whether t^iey ----„- 

'^t^^^tr^ clTcS th'e lacc,uei.d casl 
the same to whom 1 h°mas Ha„c k had^^^^ ,, ^^ ^^^ 

vised to apply. ,.J^'^^/'°p';ssMy the zealous friend 
top to which he ob ec d i oss^ > ^,^^ ^ ^^^^^^^ 

may have sent both clocks ' Antiquarian 

case is now owned by the American " H 

Society, to which it was F^f ""'^'.^'''^"g J/ ohn 
u ^Uf frnm the Hancock house in ib3», oy junn 
C°h^d er o? Petersham. The clock with lacquered 
S:ls also bought from the Hancock ho^se, and 
is now in the Boston Museum of !•>'« Arts, 
:hich it is loaned by Miss L-v Gray. Swe^t^ 

lUustration .68 ^^ows a talUlock in a m ho^.^^y 




Furniture of the Olden Time 

Illus. 268. — Tall Clock, 
about 1770. 

Chippendale design. The col- 
umns at the corners of the case, 
sometimes fluted and sometimes 
plain, are characteristic of Chip- 
pendale, and appear on the major- 
ity of tall clocks made after 1760. 
This clock is owned by Francis 
H. Bigelow, Esq., of Cambridge. 
After the War of the Revo- 
lution enamelled or painted dials 
took the place of brass dials in 
this country, to a great extent, 
the chief reason being, of course, 
their smaller cost. The works 
were made by clock-makers who 
sold them to pedlers, and they 
took them, four or five at a time, 
into the country towns to sell ; 
the local cabinet-maker made the 
case, while the local clock-maker 
put his own name upon the 
dial. During the latter years of 
the eighteenth century, there was 
a fashion for using moving fig- 
ures above the dial, a ship heav- 
ing upon the waves being the 
favorite. Many clocks have a 
painted moon, which rises and 
sets each month. Miniature tall 
clocks were made at this time, 
corresponding in proportions to 
the tall clocks. 



Illustration 269 shows a tall 
clock and a miniature one, both 
made about 1800, with painted 
faces. The tall clock has the 
name upon its face of Philip 
Hoi way, Falmouth. The case 
is mahogany, and the twisted 
pillars have brass bases and 
caps. The brass ornaments 
upon the top are rather un- 
usual, a ball with three sprays 
of flowers. The clock was 
bought in Falmouth by the 
writer. The small clock has 
the name of Asa Kenney upon 
the face. Its case is inlaid with 
satin-wood and 
ebony. This lit- 
tle clock belonged 
to the late Sumner 
Pratt of Worces- 
ter, and is now 
owned by his 
daughter, ^Iiss E. 
A. Pratt. 

Illustration 270 
shows a clock 
owned by Mrs. 
E. A. Morse of 

Illus. 269. — Miniature 
Clock and Tall Clock, 
about 1800. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 



Illus. 270. —Tall Clock, 

Worcester. The case is beauti- 
fully inlaid with satin-wood, 
holly, ebony, and two varieties 
of mahogany. It has the painted 
moon above the dial, and plays 
seven tunes — one tune being 
played each hour during the 
day. The tunes are 

Hob or Knob, 
Heathen Mythology, 
Bank of Flowers, 
Paddy Whack, 
New Jersey, 
Marquis of Granby, 

Amherst is the psalm tune which 
this pious clock plays upon Sun- 
days, to atone for the rollick- 
ing jigs which are tinkled out 
upon week-days. All of the tall 
clocks illustrated in this chapter 
have brass works, but many were 
made with wooden works, and 
in buying a clock one should 
make sure that the works are 
of brass. 

Illustration 271 shows two 
sizes of a kind of clock occa- 
sionally found, which winds by 
pulling the chain attached to 
the weights. These clocks were 



made in Europe ; the smaller one, which is owned 
by the writer, having the label of a Swiss clock- 
maker. The larger clock belongs to Irving Bige- 
low, Esq., of Wor- 
cester. Both date 
to the first quarter 
of the nineteenth 

The most famous 
name among Amer- 
ican clock-makers is 
Willard. There 
were three Willard 
brothers, — Benja- 
min, Simon, and 
Aaron, — clock- 
makers in Grafton, 
Massachusetts, in 
1765. Benjamin and 
Simon established a 
business in Rox- 
bury, and in De- 
cember, 1 77 1, Ben- 
jamin advertised in 
the Boston Evenino- 
Post his " removal 
from Lexington to 

Roxbury. He will '"-• 271.-Wall Clocks. 1800-1825. 

sell house clocks neatly made, cheaper than im- 
ported." February 22, 1773, he advertised that he 
"at his shop in Roxbury Street, pursues the differ- 
ent branches of clock and watch work, and has for 

fSS : ■HJ 

jmfl I^H ^i ', 1^1 -'tri Bl ' 
^^M jl^^l V ^1 I^E IS^ 

^^^^^^^^^^^^H B*^ J^l^^^l 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

sale musical clocks, playing different tunes, a new 
tune each day, and on Sunday a Psalm tune. These 
tunes perform every hour. . . . All the branches 
of the business likewise carried on in Grafton." The 
third brother, Aaron, may have remained in Graf- 
ton, for he went from there later to Roxbury as 
fifer of a company of minute-men, in the first days 
of the War of the Revolution. Simon Willard re- 
mained in the same shop in 
Roxbury for over seventy 
years, dying in 1 848 at the 
great age of ninety-six years. 
Aaron Willard built a shop 
in Boston and made a spe- 
cialty of tall striking clocks. 

Illustration 272 shows a 
clock owned by Dr. G. Faulk- 
ner of Jamaica Plain. Inside 
the clock is written in a quaint 
hand, " The first short time- 
piece made in America, 1784." 
Dr. Faulkner's father was 
married at about that date, 
and the clock was made for 
him. It has always stood 
upon a bracket upon the wall, 
and has been running con- 
stantly for one hundred and 
seventeen years. Upon the 
scroll under the dial is the inscription " Aaron Wil- 
lard, Roxbury." The case is of mahogany, and 
stands twenty-six inches high. Upon the lower part 

Illus. 272. — Willard Clock 



are very beautiful scroll feet, turning back. The 
upper part stands upon ogee feet, and can be lifted 
off. The glass door is painted so that it forms a 
frame for the dial. Mr. Howard, the founder of the 

Illus. 273.— Willard Clocks. 1800-1815. 

Howard Watch Company, has told me that the 
Willards invented this style of clock, as well as 
the style known as the banjo clock. Mr. Howard 
is now eighty-nine years old, and learned the clock- 
maker's trade, when a boy, in the shop of Aaron 
Willard, Jr. I have not been able to find that 

328 Furniture of the Olden Time 

clocks of this style were made in England at all, 
and they seem to be purely American, but in Brit- 
ten's " Old Clocks and Watches and their Makers " 
is an illustration of an astronomical clock made by 
Henry Jenkins, 1760 to 1780, with a case very simi- 
lar in shape to these clocks, and with a top like the 
centre one of the three in Illustration 273. Aaron 
Willard may have obtained his idea from such a 
clock. The clock in Illustration 272 is the earliest 
one that I have heard of. 

Illustration 273 shows three clocks made some 
years later, probably about 1 800 to 1 8 1 5. The clock 
with the ogee feet is a Willard clock, and belongs 
to W. S. G. Kennedy, Esq. The clock with the 
door of bird's-eye maple and the inlaid fan-shaped 
top is owned by Mrs. E. A. Morse. The third 
clock is owned by the writer. Similar ones are not 
infrequently found. 

Simon Willard patented in 1802 an "improved 
time-piece" which Mr. Howard says is the clock 
now known as the "banjo" clock from its shape. 
Clocks of this style have been made ever since 
1802 by clock-makers around Boston. The banjo 
clock in Illustration 274 was bought by the writer in 
a Massachusetts village of an old man who called it 
a timepiece, and that is the name given to clocks 
of this shape in country places, "banjo" being a 
name of recent date. The sides of the clock-case 
are of mahogany. The glass door to the face is 
convex, and is framed in brass, and the ornaments 
at the sides of the clock are also of brass. The long 
strip of glass in the middle of the case is framed like 

Ulus. 274.— ••Banjo" Clock, \o'JZ-\620. 



the door of painted glass in wood gilt. The turned 
ornament on the top of the clock and the bracket 
below it are of wood gilt. Plainer clock-cases of 
this shape were of mahogany without the bracket 

Aaron Willard, Jr., entered his father's employ in 
his shop in Boston in 1823, and continued the busi- 
ness for forty years. When one considers that mem- 
bers of this family manufactured clocks for over one 
hundred years, it does not seem singular that so many 
clocks are found with the name of 
Willard upon them. 

Illustration 275 shows a clock with 
a Ivre-shaped case, which is a varia- 
tion of the banjo shape. This clock- 
case is made of mahogany. Clocks 
of this shape had the case of wood 
gilded, and sometimes had a bracket 

Eli Terry was the first of another 
famous family of American clock- 
makers. He started in business in 
1793, in Plymouth, near Waterbury, 
Connecticut, a town well known ever 
since for its clocks and watches. His 
first clock was made a year earlier, a iiius. 275. — Lyre- 
wooden clock in a lone case with a shaped Clock, 

u J- 1 -1 u J u 1810-1820. 

brass dial, silver washed. He manu- 
factured the works for tall clocks, selling them to 
pedlers, who took them into the country to dis- 
pose of In 1 8 10 Seth Thomas with Silas Hoadly 
bought the Terry factory, and continued the manu- 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

facture of clocks for long cases. Eli Terry in 1814 
invented a wooden shelf-clock, called " The Pillar 
Scroll Top Case, with pillars 21 inches long resting 
on a square base, dial 1 1 inches square, table below 
dial 7 inches by 11." This clock sold for fifteen 

Illus. 276. — Eli Terry Shelf Clocks, 1824. 

dollars, and was made in enormous quantities. Illus- 
tration 276 shows two clocks, one an Eli Terry 
" Pillar Scroll Top " clock, with carved pillars simi- 
lar to the ones upon pieces of furniture of that 
period. The other clock was made by Terry at 
about the same time. Inside each of these clocks is 
pasted a paper upon which is printed the following : 

lllus. 277. — French Clock, about 1800. 

Clocks 23S 

" Patent Clocks, invented by Eli Terry, Plymouth, 
Connecticut. Warranted if well used. N.B. The 
public may be assured that this kind of Clock will 
run as long without repairs and be as durable and 
accurate for keeping time as any kind of Clock 
whatever." These clocks are owned by D. Thomas 
Moore, Esq., of Westbury, Long Island. 

From the time when such mantel clocks were 
manufactured in great numbers, the fact that they 
were cheap and good time-keepers put the tall clock 
out of the market, and its manufacture practically 
died out soon after, so that but few tall clocks were 
made later than 1 8 15-1820. 

Illustration 277 shows a French clock with onyx 
pillars, and elaborate Empire brasses. The large 
ornaments at the side of the dial are of wood gilt. 
The middle of the dial is occupied by a beautifully 
wrought design in brass, of an anvil and grindstone, 
each with a little Cupid. Upon the quarter-hour 
one Cupid sharpens his arrow at the grindstone, 
running the grindstone with his foot upon a treadle, 
and at every hour the other Cupid strikes the anvil 
with his hammer the necessary number of strokes. 
A brass figure of a youth with a bow stands below 
the dial, in front of the mirror in the back of the 
clock. The base is of black marble. I have seen 
several clocks similar with the onyx pillars, but none 
with such beautiful, hand-wrought brass in the face 
and upon the case. 




STRONG distinction 
was made in America 
during the seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries 
between mirrors and looking- 
glasses; the name "mirror" was 
applied to a particular kind of 
glass, either convex or concave, 
and one old authority states that 
" a mirror is a circular convex 
glass in a gilt frame." 

Looking-glasses appear in in- 
ventories in this country as 
early as 1650, and in 1658 Will- 
iam Bartlett of Hartford left 
no less than ten, the dearest 
valued at one pound. 

In 1670 the Duke of Buckingham brought Vene- 
tian workmen to England, and established glass 
works in Lambeth ; but up to that date the looking- 
glasses occasionally mentioned in inventories must 
have been made in Venice. Some of the records 
are "a great looking glass," — "looking glass with 
brasses," ^ — "great looking glass of ebony," — "an 




olive wood diamond cut looking glass," — and "a 
looking glass with a walnut tree frame." The glass 
usually had the edge finished with a slight bevelling 
about an inch wide, made by hand, of course, which 
followed the outline of the inside of the frame. 
Some frames were made entirely of glass, the edges 
and the joints between the short lengths of glass 
being covered by a narrow gilt moulding. Such a 
looking-glass, but of later date, is shown in Illustra- 
tion 253 upon the mantel. Its date is probably 
1740 to 1750. A 
looking-glass with a 
frame ot olive-wood 
inlaid, made about 
1700, is in the Whip- 
ple house at Ipswich. 

The fashion for ja- 
panning, which rose 
at the close of the 
seventeenth century, 
was carried out in 
looking-glass frames. 
A London paper of 
1689 advertised 
" Several sorts of 
Screwtores, Tables, 
Stands, and Looking 
glasses of Japan and 
other work." 

A looking-glass in a japanned frame is shown in 
Illustration 278, dating about 1690. One character- 
istic which shows its age is the design of the frame, 

Illus. 278. — Looking-glass. 1690. 

2^S Furniture of the Olden Time 

square at the bottom and shaped in curious curves 
at the top. A large star is cut in the centre of the 
glass, which must have interfered seriously with the 
reflections of the belles and beaux who wished to see 
their patches and their elaborate coiffures. The 
shallow bevelling which follows the curves of the 
frame is over an inch wide. The frame is elaborately 
japanned in gold and bright colors, and it is twenty- 
six inches in height. It is owned by the American 
Antiquarian Society. 

The looking-glass at the head of this chapter is 
owned by E. R. Lemon, Esq., of the Wayside Inn. 
It is of walnut veneer, and the old bevelled glass 
is in two sections, the upper one cut in a design, 
and with the lower edge lapped over the other piece 
of glass. Another glass of the same period, the 
first quarter of the eighteenth century, owned by 
Mr. Lemon, heads Chapter XI. This frame has a 
top ornament of a piece of walnut sawed in curves 
which suggest those upon later frames. 

Such a looking-glass as this was probably what 
Judge Sewall meant when he sent for " A True 
Looking Glass of Black Walnut Frame of the New- 
est Fashion (if the Fashion be good) as good as can 
be bought for five or six pounds." This was for 
wedding furniture for the judge's daughter Judith, 
married in 1720. 

A looking-glass of the same date, with a carved 
wood frame, silvered, heads Chapter VI. It was 
originally owned by an ancestor of the late Major 
Ben Perley Poore, and was probably made in 
Europe. It has always, within the memory of the 



It was 

family, been silvered, and it is safe to say that 

so originally. The carving is rather crudely 

the ornament at 

the top containing 

a bird which is 

sitting upon a 

cherub's head. 

This glass is now 

at Indian Hill, 


In nothing is 
the charm of asso- 
ciation more po- 
tent than in an old 
when one con- 
siders the faces 
and scenes that 
have been re- 
flected in it, II- 
lustration 279 
shows a looking- 
glass which hung 
in the Schuyler 
mansion at Still- 
water, New York, 
in which Washing- 
ton stopped over 
night; and al- 
though the quick- 
silver is somewhat 

worn off the back lUus. 279. — Looking-glass, about 1730. 

340 Furniture of the Olden Time 

of the glass, the thought that it must have mirrored 
the face of Washington preserves it from being re- 
stored. The shape is extremelv graceful, and the 
outline of the inside of the frame is followed by 
little scrolls cut in the glass. The frame is carved 
in wood, and gilt, and was probably made in Italy 
about 1730. It is now owned by the writer. The 
low-boy in the illustration is described upon page 37. 

Rococo and Chinese designs were rampantly 
fashionable in frames for looking-glasses from 1750 
to 1780. They present an astonishing combination 
of Chinese pagodas, shells, flowers, branches, animals, 
and birds, with occasionally a figure of a man or 
woman considerably smaller than the flowers and 
birds upon the same frame. 

Some of the famous designers of frames were 
Matthias Lock, who published " A New Book of 
Pier Frames, Oval Girandoles, Tables, etc.," in 
1765 ; Edwards and Darley ; and Thomas Johnson ; 
besides the better-known cabinet-makers I nee and 
Mayhew and Chippendale. Lock and Johnson 
devoted much space to frames for girandoles, pier 
glasses, ovals, and chimney-pieces, all elaborately 
carved with scrolls and shells with dripping water, 
birds, and animals of every sort from a monkey to a 
cow, the latter unromantic and heavy creature figur- 
ing upon a dripping scroll in one of Johnson's 

Illustration 280 shows a looking-glass of the size 
which was called a " pier " glass, which must have 
been made about 1760. It is carved in walnut, and 
the natural wood has never been stained or gilt. It 

Illus. 280. — Pier Glass in "Chinese Taste," 1760. 

Looking-glasses 343 

presents many of the characteristic designs fashion- 
able at that time, of scrolls and dripping water, 
while no less than seven pagoda roofs form a part 
of the frame. The figure, probably a Chinese lady 
with a parasol, is missing from the pagoda at the 
top. Below the frame is carved a little monkey 
sitting in the lower scroll. The frame is rather 
unusual in having side branches for candles. This 
looking-glass and the one in the following illus- 
tration are owned by Mrs. Charles Barrell of Bar- 
rell's Grove, York Corner, Maine, and are in the 
old Barrell house, which stands with its original 
furniture, as it stood one hundred and fifty years 
ago. These looking-glasses were bought by a Bar- 
rell ancestor at an auction in London, about 1795. 
The articles sold at this auction were the furnish- 
ings of one of the households of the Prince of 
Wales, which was, temporarily at least, given up 
by him upon his marriage, and these glasses have 
reflected many a gay scene in which the " First 
gentleman in Europe " figured, while Beau Brum- 
mel may have used them to arrange the wonderful 
toilettes which won him his name. What a change 
to the little Maine village ! 

Another looking-glass of carved wood, with the 
same history, is shown in Illustration 281. This 
frame is gilded, and possesses none of the Chinese 
designs of the other frame, but is purely rococo. It 
has the old glass with bevelled edges. Both of 
these looking-glasses must have been made at least 
twenty-five vears before the time when they were 
sold at auction by the royal bridegroom. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

At the head of Chapter V is shown a looking- 
glass with a frame of white with gilt ornaments. 
It formerly belonged to Governor Wentworth, and 

lllus. 281. — Looking-glass, about 1760. 

is now in the Poore collection at Indian Hill. It is 
similar in design and decoration to the looking- 
glasses seen in French palaces, and was probably 
made in France about 1760. 



A charming oval looking-glass which might be 
of the present latest fashion, forms the heading to 
Chapter III. It has the flowing ribbon bow-knot 
which Chippendale 
employed, and which 
has been fashionable 
ever since. This 
looking - glass was 
made about 1770, 
and was inherited by 
Miss H. P. F. Burn- 
side of Worcester 
from her great-grand- 

Illustration 282 
shows a fine looking- 
glass with a frame of 
carved wood. There 
is a small oval medal- 
lion below the frame 
with emblems of 
Freemasonry in gilt 
upon a black ground. 
A large medallion is 
above the glass, with 
Cupids painted upon 
a black ground, and 
the frame is sur- 
mounted by an eagle. 
This looking-glass is 
owned by Mrs. Charles 

R. Waters of Salem. Illus. 282. — Looking-glass, 1770-1780. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

Illus. 283. — Looking-glass, 

Another of the 
same period, with 
a carved wood 
frame, is shown at 
the beginning of 
Chapter IV. This 
frame has a classical 
design of garlands 
of laurel with an 
urn at the top. 
The small oval 
medallion at the 
base of both of 
these frames seems 
to be a feature of 
such looking- 
glasses, together 
with the garlands 
of carved wood. 
This looking-glass 
is owned by the 
writer. Upon its 
back is an oak 
board which must 
have been prized 
highly, for it has 
been carefully re- 
paired with two 
patches of wood set 
into it. 

Illustration 283 
shows a looking- 


Looking-glasses 347 

glass made in the first half of the eighteenth century, 
of walnut. The gilt mouldings are carved in wood, 
as are the gilt leaves and flowers at the side. The 
waving line of the inside of the frame is followed in 
the bevelling of the glass. Glasses of this period 
were usually made in two pieces, to lessen the ex- 
pense, the edge of one piece of glass being simply 
lapped over the other. This looking-glass is unusu- 
ally large, seven and one-half feet high and three 
feet wide. It is now owned by the Philadelphia 
Library Association, and was used in 1778, at the 
famous Mischianza fete, where probably the lovely 
Peggy Shippen and the beautiful Jewess, Rebecca 
Frank, and perhaps the ill-fated Andre, used the 
glass to put the finishing touches to their toilettes, 
or to repair the damages wrought during the gay 
dances of that historic ball. 

A looking-glass showing the development from 
the one in Illustration 283 may be seen in Illustra- 
tion 22 upon page 38. The frame is more elaborate 
than the older one in its curves and in the pedi- 
ment with the broken arch, and its date is about 
1770. The original glass is gone, so we cannot tell 
if it was bevelled, but it probably was. This very 
fine frame came from the Chase mansion in Annapo- 
lis, and is now owned by Harry Harkness Flagler, 
Esq., of Millbrook, New York. 

Another looking-glass owned by Mr. Flagler is 
shown in Illustration 284. The frame is of walnut 
veneer, and the shape of the glass without-any curves 
at the top, and the garlands at the side more finely 
modelled and strung upon a wire, determine it to 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

have been made some years later than the frame in 
Illustration 283. 

A looking-glass with a mahogany and gilt frame, 

owned by the 

writer, is shown in 
the heading to 
Chapter IX. This 
looking-glass dates 
between the last two 
described; the 
curved form of the 
upper edge of the 
glass in Illustration 
22 leaving a slight 
reminder in the cut- 
off, upper corners 
of this glass, which 
vanishes in the 
square corners of 
the one in Illustra- 
tion 284. The gar- 
lands at each side 
are carved from 
wood, without wire. 
These looking- 
glasses are now re- 
produced in large 
numbers and are 
iiius. 284. -Looking-glass. 1770-1780. sometimes called 

Washington glasses, from the fact that one hangs 
upon the wall in a room at Mount Vernon, 
A looking-glass is shown in the heading to Chap- 

Looking-glasses 349 

ter VIII in which the decoration is produced by 
both carving and sawing, as well as by gilt orna- 
ments. The sawing of ornamental outlines appears 
upon the earliest trames, such as Illustration 278, 
and is found upon frames made during the eigh- 
teenth century until its close. 

During the last quarter of the eighteenth century 
frames which are apparently a cheaper form of the 
mahogany and gilt looking-glasses described, were 
most popular, and are commonly found. These 
frames are veneered with mahogany or walnut, and 
are sawed in outlines similar to those of the richer 
frames of walnut or mahogany and gilt. The in- 
side of the frame next the glass has a narrow hand- 
carved gilt moulding, and there is sometimes a gilt 
bird flying through the opening sawed in the upper 
part of the frame, while in other frames the opening 
is partially filled by three feathers, a conventional 
shell, or a flower in gilt. Occasionally a line of 
inlaying follows the gilt moulding next the glass. 
In smaller looking-glasses a gilded plaster eagle was 
glued upon the frame above the glass. Such trames 
may be found, or rather might have been found, in 
almost any old house. 

Illustration 285 shows two of these looking- 
glasses. The larger glass is owned by the writer, the 
smaller by W. S. G. Kennedy, Esq., of Worcester. 

A looking-glass with some variations from those 
previously shown forms the heading to Chapter 
X. The lower part of the frame has the sawed out- 
lines which appear upon so many, while the upper 
part has a broken arch cornice ot a high and slender 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

design, showing the influence of the lighter Hepple- 
white styles. A colored shell is inlaid in the top of 
this frame, and there are two rows of fine inlaying 
around the glass. The frame is surmounted by an 

Illus. 285. — Looking-glasses, 1750-1790. 

urn or vase with flowers and stalks of wheat, upon 
wires, like the slender garlands at the sides. This 
looking-glass belongs to H. H. Kohn, Esq., of 



It was customary for these mahogany-framed 
glasses to rest upon two mirror knobs, which fitted 
into the lower curves of the frame and were screwed 
into the wall. These 
knobs were sometimes 
made of brass, but the 
most fashionable mirror 
knobs were those with 
a medallion, round or 
oval, of Battersea en- 
amel upon copper, 
framed in brass. The 
design of the medallions 
varied, heads of histori- 
cal personages being 
very popular, while flow- 
ers, landscapes, fancy 
heads, the eagle and 
thirteen stars, and the 
ever-favorite design of 
the monument and 
weeping willow appear 
in the bright tints of 
the enamel. Dwight 
Blaney, Esq., of Boston, 
has a collection of over 
one hundred knobs. 
Washington, Lafayette, Franklin, Lord Nelson are 
some of the heads' found upon muTor knobs, l^our 
pairs of enamelled knobs, owned by the writer ap- 
pear in Illustration 286. The head ot Lord Nelson 
figures upon one pair. 

lllus. 286. — Enamelled Mirror 
Knobs, 1770-1790. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

" A circular convex glass in a gilt frame " is shown 
in Illustration 287. Such glasses were advertised as 
" mirrors," in distinction from the looking-glasses 
which were in ordinary use, and they were sold in 

pairs, for sconces, 
the convex or oc- 
casionally concave 
glass precluding 
the possibility of 
its use for a literal 
looking-glass, as 
any person will 
agree who has 
caught in one a 
glimpse of a dis- 
torted reflection 
of face or figure. 
These mirrors 
were fashionable 
during the last 
quarter of the 
eighteenth cen- 
tury, and were 
made in various 
sizes, from twelve 
inches in diameter 
to three feet. The 
eagle formed the 
most popular ornament for the top, but many were 
made with a winged horse, or a sort of dragon, 
instead of the eagle. These mirrors were called 
girandoles, like others with branches for candles. 

lllus. 287. — Girandole. 1770-1780. 



The girandole in Illustration 287 is owned by 
the Albany Historical Society, 

Illustration 288 shows a large and handsome 
looking-glass made in the 
fashion ot Hepplewhite's 
designs, the fan - shaped 
ornament below the glass 
being quite characteristic of 
Hepplewhite's frames. 
The eagle at the top holds 
in his beak chains which 
extend to the urns upon the 
upper corners of the frame. 

This looking-glass was 
made about 1790, and is 
owned by Mrs. Thomas 
H. Gage of Worcester. 

A looking-glass made to 
fit the panel over the man- 
tel is shown in Illustration 
289. This mantel with the 
looking-glass is in the 
Nichols house, in Salem, 
in a room built in 1783 
for a young bride. The 
upper part of the frame 
has the lattice and orna- 
ments in gilt upon a white 
ground, and the overhang- iiius. 288.— Heppiewhite Look- 
ing cornice has a row of '"2-^'"^^' '^^°- 
gilt balls beneath it. The pillars framing the three 
sections of glass are fluted and bound with garlands. 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

. Another large looking-glass of a similar design, 
but of a few years' later date, is shown in Illustra- 
tion 290. It is owned by Dwight Blaney, Esq., and 
was probably made to fit some space, as it is of un- 
usual shape and very large. The three panels at 
the top are painted upon glass, the middle panel 

! i. 

Illus. 289. — Mantel Glass. 1783. 

having one of the mortuary subjects which were so 
popular with our ancestors, of a monument with a 
willow carefully trained to weep over the urn, and a 
despondent female disconsolately gazing upon the 
ground. The glass may have been ordered by the 
grief-stricken lady who is depicted in the panel, as 
evidence that while the looking-glass was a tribute 



to the vanities of life, the doleful scene in the panel 
above the glass should serve as a reminder that such 

Illus. 290. — Looking-glass, 1790-1800. 

vanities are fleeting. The cornice and the capitals 
of the pillars are very elaborate, and around the top 

2^6 Furniture of the Olden Time 

runs a fluted band wound with garlands similar to 
the pillars in Illustration 2,89. 

Illustration 291 shows a looking-glass in a frame 
the main portion of which is of salmon-colored 
marble, which is glued or cemented to the wood in 
small thin pieces. Upon the edges of this marble 
is a narrow gilt moulding, and the ornaments at the 
top and bottom are of gilt, the fine scrolls at the top 
being made of wire. Such looking-glasses have 
been found in New England, chiefly in Massachu- 
setts, and the majority that have been traced have 
Marblehead as their starting-point in this country. 
In Marblehead they are known as " Bilboa glasses," 
and the story of the old wives of Marblehead is that 
these glasses were all brought home by sailors who 
had been to Bilbao, " In the bay of Biscay, oh," and 
that the looking-glasses were either given as presents 
to wives or sweethearts, or more prosaically ex- 
changed for a cargo of Marblehead dried fish. The 
frames, however, would appear to be of Italian 
origin, if one wishes to be accurate, and discard the 
picturesque Marblehead legend. 

The looking-glass in Illustration 291 is now in the 
Boston Art Museum. The "Bilboa glasses" are 
nearly all similar to this in design, with marble 
pillars at the side and gilt ornaments at the top and 
bottom. The glass is the original one with the 
shallow, wide bevel, and the frame, exclusive of the 
ornaments at the top and bottom, measures twenty- 
five inches in height and eighteen in width. 

Another " Bilboa glass" is shown in the heading 
to Chapter VII. This glass is owned by Mrs. 

Ulus. 291. — "Bilboa Glass," 1770-1780. 

nrruRN t^ 

?ROPEBTy Mf'^ 




M. G. Potter of Worcester, and the story in the 
family* is that this looking-glass was made by Cap- 
tain John Potter of North Brookfield, a well-known 
clock-maker and metal-worker, as a present to his 
bride, about 1790. The glass has always been fas- 
tened to the black panel behind it, within the mem- 
ory of the family. The probability is that the black 
panel and the ornament at the top were of domestic 

iUus. 292. — Mantel Glass, I8OO-16IU. 

make, the frame being originally brought with other 
« Bilboa glasses " from Italy. The top ornament is 
distinctly Chippendale in style, while the original 
tops to these glasses were Italian like the top in 

Illustration 291. • i 1 ,u^ 

During the eighteenth century, particularly the 
latter years, it was fashionable to haye a looking- 
glass on the mantel, extending nearly the length 
of the shelf, and divided into three sections, the 
larger section in the middle. The line where 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

the glass was joined was covered by a narrow gilt 
moulding. Such a looking-glass is shown in Illus- 
tration 260. It has the overhanging cornice which 

was a feature of these 
glasses in the early- 
years of the nine- 
teenth century, and 
the design of the 
frame with the pillars 
at the side is in the 
classical style. 
Another similar look- 
ing-glass is shown in 
Illustration 26 1. Both 
of these glasses be- 
long to Francis A. 
Bigelow, Esq., of 
Cambridge, and they 
were made from 1800 
to 1 8 10. 

Illustration 292 
shows a very hand- 
some mantel glass 
owned by Harry 
Harkness Flagler, 
Esq., of Millbrook, 
made about 18 10. 

Cheval glasses were 
not common in early 
times, to judge from 
the small number of old specimens found. Illus- 
tration 293 shows one with a frame and stand of 

Illus. 293. — Cheval Glass, 1830-1! 



mahogany, owned by Mrs. N. F. Rogers of Wor- 
cester, and made about 1830 to 1840. 

Looking-glasses were made from 18 10 to 1825, 
following the 
heavy designs 
which were 
fashionable at 
that period, 
and these 
glasses are 
found. By 
this time the 
shallow bevel 
upon the glass 
had d i s a p- 
peared, and 
the glass in 
these heavy 
gilt frames is 
always plain. 

The over- 
hanging cor- 
n i c e, often 
with acorns or 
balls beneath, 
is a feature of 
these glasses, 
one of which , , „ ^ „^^ 

, . Illus. 294. — Looking-glass. 1810-1825. 

IS shown m 

Illustration 294, with a classical design below the 

cornice, and with the upper section filled with a 


Furniture of the Olden Time 

gilded panel. It is owned by Francis H. Bigelow, 
Esq., of Cambridge. The glass in Illustration 295 
belongs to the writer. Looking-glasses were made 
in this style of mahogany also, with pillars twisted, 
fluted, or carved with the acanthus leaf. The glass was 

divided in 
two sections, 
separated by 
a narrow 
the upper sec- 
tion was often 
filled by a 
gilded panel, 
as in Illustra- 
tion 294. The 
frame at the 
head of Chap- 
ter II shows 
a looking- 
glass owned 
by Mr. Bige- 
1 o w . The 
panel above 
the glass is 

Illus. 295. —Looking-glass, 1810-1825. 

gilded, and its design, of a cornucopia, was extremely 
popular at this period. The upper section was fre- 
quently filled with a picture painted upon glass. A 
looking-glass with such a picture is shown in Illus- 
tration 25, and another, owned by Mrs. H. H. 
Bigelow of Worcester, heads Chapter I. 



Albany Historical Society. Giran- 
dole, 352; forty-legged table, 222. 

Alexander Ladd House, Ports- 
mouth. Chair, 146; double chair, 

American Antiquarian Society, 
Worcester. Desk, 114; double 
chair, 203; high chair, 141 ; look- 
ing-glass, 337; slate-top table, 
219; tall clock, 320. 

American Philosophical Society, 
Philadelphia. Chair, 160. 


Barrel!, Mrs. Charles C, York Cor- 
ners. Looking-glass, 341, 344- 

Baxter, James Phinney, Portland. 
Sideboard, 91; dressing-glass, 

Bigelow, Francis H., Cambridge. 
Andirons, 288; candelabra, 312; 
cellaiet, 103; chairs, 166, 168, 180, 
186, 187; clock, 322; desk, 116, 
136; lamps, 311; looking-glass, 
40, 361; secretary', 135; side- 
board, 98, 99; sofa, 205; table, 
225, 228, 242; wash-stand, 57. 
Bigelow, Mrs. H. H., \Yorcester. 
Looking-glass, 10. 

Bigelow, Irving, Worcester. Clock, 
325; table, 239. 

Blaney, Dwight, Boston. Andirons, 
289; bureau,5i; chair, 148, 181; 
desk, 121; high chest, 25; look- 
ing-glass, 355; music stand, 273; 
settle, 194; sideboard, loi ; table, 
217, 219, 220, 227, 239, 244; 
what-not, 240. 

Boston Art Museum. Clock, 320; 
looking-glass, 357. 

Burnside, Miss H. P. F., Worcester. 
Looking-glass, 60; table, 245. 

Carroll, Mrs. Elbert H., Worcester. 

Bureau, 47. 
Chickering lS: Co. Piano, 272, 2S1. 
Coates, Miss Mar>', Philadelphia. 

Chair, 146, 159. 170, I73. 1^4; 

table, 227. 
Concord Antiquarian Society. Bed- 
stead, 65; chair, 174; couch, 196; 

looking-glass, 216; sofa, 207; 

table, 235. 
Connecticut Historical Society, 

Hartford. Chest, 15. 
Corbett, George H., Worcester. 

Bedstead, 76. 
Cutter, Mrs. J. C, Worcester. Chair, 
1 1S9. 


364 Index of the Owners of Furniture 


Darlington, Dr. James H., Brooklyn, 

Piano, 263, 2S0. 
Deerfield Museum. Beaufatt, 85; 

chair, 165; chest, 11, 16; chest 

of drawers, 18; dulcimer, 274; 

settle, 193; spinet, 250. 
Dyer, Clinton M., Worcester. Table, 

234; table and chair, 240. 

Earle, Mrs. Alice Morse, Brooklyn. 

Chair, 170; desk, 124. 
Essex Institute, Salem. Chair, 140, 

143; cupboard, 81; settee, 195. 

Faulkner, Dr. G., Roxbury. Clock, 

Flagler, Harry Harkness, Millbrook. 
Andirons, 291 ; candle-stand, 310; 
chair, 150, 169, 172, 178; clock, 
359; double chair, 199 ; dressing- 
table, 38; fender, 291 ; high chest, 
36; lantern, 313; looking-glass, 
30, 348, 359; side table, 89; sofa, 
198; table, 228, 229, 232, 234; 
writing-table, 122. 


Gage, Mrs. Thomas H., Worcester. 

Bureau, 53, 55; case of drawers, 

54; desk, 137; looking-glass, 353; 

sofa, 213. 
Gage, Miss Mabel C, Worcester. 

Desk, 108. 
Gay, Calvin, Worcester, Clock, 334. 
Girard College. Settee, 204. 
Grisier, Mrs. Ada, Auburn. Tiano, 



Henry, Mrs. J. H., Winchendon. 

Desk, 138. 
Herreshoff, J. B. F., New York. 

Double chest, 32. 
Hosmer, the Misses, Concord. 

Couch, 197; sofa, 208; table, 241. 
Hosmer, Walter, Wethersfield. 

Chair, 163, 175; couch, 197; 

cupboard, 83; desk, 112, 113; 

dressing-table, 34. 
Huntington, Dr. William R., New 

York. Desk with cabinet top, 

Hyde, Mrs. Clarence R., Brooklyn. 

Comb-back rocker, 158, 

Ipswich Historical Society. Bed- 
stead, 63; chair, 154, 155; fire- 
place, 286. 


Johnson Hudson, Mrs., Stratford. 
Bedstead, 62; bureau, 46; candle 
shades, 304; kas, 87; looking- 
glass, 304; screen, 308; table, 233. 


Kennedy, W. S. G., Worcester. 
Chair, 174, 183; clock, 327; desk, 
134; looking-glass, 350 ; piano, 
262; sideboard, 105; sofa, 205. 

Knabe, William, & Co., Baltimore. 
Harpsichord, 254, 

Kohn, H. H., Albany. Looking- 
glass, 287. 


Lang, B. J., Boston. Piano, 277. 
Lawrence, Walter Bowne, Flushing, 
Chair, 188. 

Index of the Owners of Furniture 365 

Lawton, Mrs. Vaughan Reed, 

Worcester. Harp, 283. 
Lemon, E. R., Sudbury. Chest of 

drawers, 20; fire frame, 299; 

looking-jjlass, 314, 336. 
Lincoln, Waldo, Worcester. Chair, 

189, 190; sideboard, 102. 


Maclnnes, J. C, Worcester. Side 
tal)le, 100. 

Marsh, Mrs. Caroline Foote, Clare- 
mont-on-the-James. Chest, 13. 

Meggatt, William, Wethcrsfield. 
Lantern clock, 315. 

Moore, D. Thomas, Westbury. 
Clock, 332; chair, 179. 

Morse, Mrs. E. A., Worcester. Bed- 
stead, 73 ; chair, 177, 188 ; clock, 
324,327; table, 247; washstand, 

• 59- 

Morse, Miss Frances C, Worcester. 
Bedstead, 74 ; bureau, 43, 50; 
candlesticks, 305 ; chairs, 152, 
153. 156, 157. 161, 167, 176; 
clock, 316, 323, 325, 327, 329; 
coasters, 95, 225; desk, 130; 
high chest, 28 ; lamps, 300 ; 
looking-glass, 78, 248, 339, 350, 
362; low-boy, 28, 39, 339; mir- 
ror-knobs, 351 ; night table, 59 ; 
piano, 259 ; piano stool, 268, 270 ; 
secretary desk, 132 ; settee, 206 ; 
sideboard, 95 ; sofa, 209 ; table, 
224, 226, 237 ; washstand, 58. 
Mount Vernon. Lamp, 307 ; mantel, 



Newburyport Historical Association. 
Cradle, 61 ; desk with cabinet top, 
123 ; table, 218. 

Newman, Mrs. M.,New York. Sofa, 

Nichols, The Misses, Salem. Look- 
ing-glass, 354. 


Orth, John, Boston. Clavichord, 

Pennsylvania Historical Society. 
Desk, 112. 

Philadelphia Library Association. 
Looking-glass, 346. 

rilgrim Society, Plymouth. Chairs, 
142; cradle, 61. 

Poore, Ben Perley, Piy field. Bed- 
stead, 67, 71 ; candle stand, 302. 
309 ; cellaret, 103; chair, 144, 147, 
154, 164, 169, 184; chest on 
frame, 19 ; clock, 318; looking- 
glass, 106, 139 ; screen, 309 ; 
sofa, 214. 

Potter, Mrs. M. G., Worcester. 
Looking-glass, 192. 

Pratt, Miss Emma A., Worcester. 
Miniature tall clock, 323. 

Prentice, Mrs. Charles H., Worces- 
ter. Dutch chair, 162. 

Priest, Mrs. Louis >L, Salem. Piano, 


Robart, F. A., Boston. Dressing- 
table, 23 ; high chest, 22. 

Rogers, Mrs. N. F., Worcester. 
Cheval glass, 360. 

Schoeffer, Dr. Charles, Philadelphia. 

Sofa, 212. 
Sibley, Charles, Worcester. Bureau, 

Smith, John, Worcester. Table, 243. 

^66 Index of the Owners of Furniture 

Tappan, Mrs. San ford, Newbury- 

port. Piano, 261. 
Tilton, Miss M. E., Newburyport. 

Table, 225. 


Unitarian Church, Leicester. Chair, 


Verplanck, Samuel, Fishkill. Desk 
with cabinet top, frontispiece. 


Warner House, Portsmouth. Bed- 
stead, 72; bill of lading, 126; 
bookcase, 129; bureau, 41; chan- 

delier, 306 ; double chest, 30; 
dressing-table, ^;^; high chest, 
26; sofa, 211; stove, 297, 

Waters, Charles R., Salem. Bed- 
stead, 69 ; bureau, 42 ; candelabra, 
295; chair, 145, 177, 179, 183; 
chest, 17; chest upon frame, 19; 
cupboard, 82; desk bo.x, 107; 
desk with cabinet top, 115; hob 
grate, 295; looking-glass, 345; 
lantern clock, 316. 

Wing, Mrs. John D., Millhrook. 
Music stand, 273. 

Woodward, Mrs. Dr. Rufus, Worces- 
ter. High chest, 27. 

Woodward, Mrs. Samuel B., Worces- 
ter. Bedstead, 75 ; bureau, 56; 
table, 241. 



Adam, Robert and J., 4, 5. 
Adam leg, 208, 241. 
Adams, John, quoted, 252. 
Andirons, 287. 
Argand lamp, 306. 
Astor piano, 26 1. 

Baldwin, Christopher Columbus, 

quoted, 284. 
Banister-back chair, 151. 
" Banjo " clock, 328. 
Bason stand, 55. 
Beaufet or beaufatt, 84. 
Bedstead, claw-and-ball foot, 64 ; 
cording of, 67; coverlid for, 74; 
early, 60; field, 63; French, 75; 
Hepplewhite, 67; low post, 75; 
ornaments for concealing bed 
screws, 73; press, 62; sleigh, 77; 
steps for, 68. 
Bell-flower, 180. 
Belter, John, 213. 
Betty lamp, 299. 
Bible box, 106. 
" Biglow Papers," quoted, 29. 
"Bilboa" looking-glass, 356. 
Bill of lading, 127. 
Bird-cage clock, 314. 
Bliss, Rev. Daniel, 174. 
Block front, 115, 116. 
Blythe, Samuel, 255. 

BoUes collection, 140, 216. 

Bonaparte chair, 189. 

Books on furniture, 4. 

Bowley, Devereux, 321. 

Bracket clock, 317. 

Brass beading, 211. 

Brewster chair, 141. 

Broadwood harpsichord, 256. 

Brown, John, Joseph, Nicholas, 

Moses, 33, 178. 
Bulkeley, Rev. Peter, 196. 
Bureau, 40, 107, 130. 
Burney, Dr., quoted, 249. 
Burnt work on chest, 12. 
Butterfly table, 220. 

Candelalira, 311, 313. 

Candle extinguisher, 306. 

Candle shades, 304. 

Candle-stand, mahogany, 310; iron, 


Candlestick, 299, 305. 

Carroll, Charles, 255. 

Carver chair, 141. 

Cellaret, 103. 

Chair, bandy-leg, 160; banister, 151; 
cane, 146 ; Carver and Brewster, 
141 ; comb-back, 158; Dutch, 160; 
easy, 165; fan-back, 158; Flemish, 
146; leather, 143; Queen Anne, 
151; rocking, 160; roundabout, 
154; slat-back, 155; turned, 140; 



General Index 

Turkey work, 143; wainscot, 142; 

Windsor, 157; writing, 159. 
Chair table, 218. 
Chambers, Sir William, 4. 
Chandelier, 307. 
Chandler, John, 203, 321. 
Charters, John, 270. 
Chest, 10. 

Chest of drawers, 19. 
Chest on frame, 17. 
Cheval glass, 360. 
Chickering & Co., 271. 
China steps, 24. 
Chinese taste, 176, 200. 
Chippendale, Thomas, 4, 167. 
Clavichord, 256. 
Claw-and-ball foot, 161. 
Clementi, 260. 
Clocks, 314. 
Coasters, 97, 225. 
Comb-back, 158. 
Commode, 40, 64; table, 42. 
Cording a bed, 67. 
Corner chair, 154. 
Cornucopia sofa, 212. 
Couch, 196. 
Cradle, 61. 
Cupboard, almery, 78; corner, 84; 

court, 81; livery, 81; press, 78. 
Cupboard cloths or cushions, 84. 


Darly, Matthias, 4. 

Day bed, 196. 

Dearborn, General Henry, 151. 

Desk, 106, 107. 

Desk-box, 107. 

Dish-top table, 226, 

Dodd & Claus, 258. 

Double chest, 30. 

Drawing-table, 217. 

Dressing-glass, 48. 

Dulcimer, 273. 
Dutch marquetrie, 45, 
Dutch tea-table, 225. 


Easy-chair, 165. 
Edwards and Darley, 340. 
Emerson, Rev. William, 1 74. 
Erben, Peter, 267. 

Fan-back, 158. 

Fancy chair, 191. 

Fender, 291. 

F'ireback, 292. 

Fire-frame, 296. 

Fireplace, 287, 290, 

Flemish chairs, 148. 

Flucker, Lucy, 48. 

Foot, claw-and-ball, 161 ; Dutch, 

155; Flemish, 145; French, 169; 

spade, 190; Spanish, 151. 
Forms, 139. 

Forty-legged table, 223. 
PVanklin, Benjamin, 276, 296. 
Franklin stove, 296. 
French foot, Hepplevvhite, 46 ; 

scroll, 169, 199. 
PVets, 315. 
Friesland clock, 317. 

Gas, 311. 
Gibbon, Dr., 3. 
Girandole, 352. 
Girard, Stephen, 204. 


Hadley chest, 16. 

Haircloth covering, 184, 213. 

Hancock, John, 113, 203, 313, 319. 

General Index 


Hancock, Thomas, 319. 

Handles, 21, 48. 

Harmonica, 275. 

Harp, 283. 

llari>shaped piano, 277. 

Harpsichord, 255. 

Harris, John, 255. 

Haward, Charles, 249. 

Hawkey, Henry, 283. 

Hawthorne, Nathaniel, quoted, 37. 

Heaton, J. Aldam, quoted, 9. 

Hepplewhite, 4, 6, 179. 

Hessians, 289. 

High-boy, 24, 29. 

Hipkins, A. J., 25 1. 

Hitchcock, John, 252; Thomas, 249, 

Hob-grate, 292. 

Holmes, O. W., quoted, I, 120, 140. 
Howard, Edward, 327. 
Hundred-legged table, 2, 223. 

I nee and Mayhew, 4, 340. 

Jacobean furniture, 144. 
Japanning, 109, 184. 
Japan work, i lO, 337. 
Jefferson, Thomas, 160, 306. 
Johnson, Dr. Samuel, 63; Dr. Will- 
iam Samuel, 232. 
Johnson, Thomas, 4, 5, 340. 
Joint or joined furniture, 10, 217. 
Jones, William, 4. 


Kas or kasse, 86. 
Keene, Stephen, 249, 250, 
Kettle-shape, 45. 
2 B 

Kettle-Stand, 231. 
Knife-boxes. 93, 94. 
Knobs for looking-glasses, 351. 
Knox, General 49, 92. 


Lacquered furniture, 109. 

Lafayette, 212. 

Lamp, betty, 299; mantel, 312; 

silver, 307. 
Langdale, Josiah, 146. 
Lantern, 313. 
Lantern clock, 314. 
Light-stand, 231. 
Lock, Matthias, 4, 5, 340. 
Looking-glasses, 336. 
Low-boy, 24, 29. 
Lowell, James Russell, quoted, 29. 


Macphaedris, Archibald, 127. 

Mahogany, 3, 4. 

Mantel, 292. 

Mantel lamps, 312. 

Manwaring, Robert, 4. 

Marie Antoinette, 91. 

Marquetrie, 45. 

Mather, Richard, 141. 

Mayhew, Ince and, 4. 

Melville, David, 31 1. 

Miniature bureau, 50; sofa, 213. 

Mirror, 336, 352. 

Mirror knobs, 351. 

Mischianza fete, 347. 

Morgan, Lady, 277, 284. 

Mouldings, 20, 45. 

Mount Vernon, chair, 185; fireplace, 

293; lamp, 307. 
Musical clock, 324, 326. 
Musical glasses, 275. 
Music-stand, 273. 


General Index 


Night table, 58. 

Oak, 3, 19. 

Osborne, Sir Danvers, 109. 

"Parson Turell's Legacy," quoted, 

Pembroke table, 235. 
Penn, William, 112. 
Pepperell, Sir William, 145. 
Pepys, Samuel, quoted, 249. 
Phyfe, Duncan, 245. 
Piano, 258. 
Piano-stool, 268, 
Pie-crust table, 226. 
Pillar-and-claw table, 244. 
Pipe-case, 37. 

Popkin, Dr. John Snelling, 1 1 6. 
Portuguese twist, 148. 
Preston, John, 219. 
Prince of Wales feathers, 180. 
Province House, 304. 
Putnam cupboard, 81. 

Quadrille, 232. 

Queen Anne chair, 151. 


Ripley, Dr. Ezra, 175, 207. 
Robinson, G. T., quoted, 3. 
Rockers, 157, 160. 
Roundabout chair, 154. 
Rumford, Count, 291. 

Satinwood, 6. 
Screen, 307. 

Scrutoir, 107. 

Secret drawers, 113. 

Settee, 195. 

Settle, 192. 

Sewall, Judge Samuel, 24S, 338. 

Shaw, Miss Rebecca, 123, 173. 

Shearer, Thomas, 5, 90. 

Sheraton, Thomas, 4, 185. 

Sheraton quoted, 3, 7, 130, 135, 

Sherburne, John, 26. 

Sideboard, 86; Shearer, 90; Hep- 
plewhite, 90; Sheraton, 90; meas- 
urements of, 97; woods used in, 


Side table, Chippendale, 89. 

Slat-back chair, 155, 

Slate-top table, 219. 

Slaw-bank, 62, 

Smoker's tongs, 303. 

Spade foot, 190. 

Spandrels, 319. 

Spanish foot, 151. 

Spinet, 248. 

Splat, 151, 160. 

Stand, candle, 310; Dutch, 225; 

kettle, 231; light, 231. 
Stein, Andre, 277, 
Steps for beds, 68. 
Storr, Marmaduke, 321. 
Strong, Governor Caleb, 174. 
Swan, Colonel, 90. 

Table, butterfly, 220; card, 231; chair, 
218; dish-top, 226; drawing, 217; 
Dutch tea, 225; framed, 218; 
forty- or hundred-legged, 223; 
joined, 218; Pembroke, 235; pie- 
crust, 226; pillar-and-claw, 244; 
slate-top, 219; work, 241. 

General Index 


Table bonle, 216. 

Table piano, 270. 

Tall clock, 318. 

Tambour, 135. 

Tea-tray, mahogany, 236; Sheffield, 

Terry, Eli, 331. 
Thomas, Seth, 331. 
Turkey work, 144, 195. 


Upright piano, 277. 

Vanderbilt, Mrs. quoted, 67, 
Virginal, 248. 


Wainscot chair, 142. 

Walnut, 3. 

Warner, Colonel Jonathan, 127. 

Warville, Brissot de, quoted, 258. 

Washstand, 55. 

Watson's Annals, quoted, 276. 

Wendell, Elizabeth Hunt, 251. 

Wentworth, Governor John, 200. 

Whatnot, 240. 

Whipple House, 64. 

Willard, Aaron, Benjamin, Simon, 

Windsor chair, 157. 
Wood, Small & Co., 270. 
Work-table, 241. 
Writing-chair, 159. 
Writing-table, 122. 



Illustrated hv photoj^raplis, .^athcrccl by the author, of real 
things, works, and hapi.enings ot olden t.mes. ^^^^^ ^^^^ 

"The work is niainlv and essentially an antitiuarian account of the 
tools, imnlements. and' utensils, as well as the processes of co on.a 
Ujmestic industry; and it is full enuu-h to serve as a moderate 
e c c opx. lia in that kin.l. . . - This useful an,l book, w.lh 
U profile an.l intere.tin.,^ pictures, its fa.r typography, and Us .,ua,nt 
binding, imitative uf an old-time sampler, should prove a f^'^^^'^-^^.^^^ 

« Mrs Earle has made a verv careful study of the details of domes- 
tic life fr^m the earliest days of the settlement of the country Ihe 
book is sumptuously illustrated, and every famed article such as he 
spinning-wheel, the foot-stone, the brass knocker on the door, and the 
old-lime cider-mill, is here presented to the eye and faithfully pictured 
in words. The volum - is a fascinating one, and the vast army ol ad- 
mirerran.l students of the olden days will be grateful to the author 
for .rathering together and putting into permanent form so much accu- 
rate^nformaUon concerning the homes of our ancestors." -/:</«.«/..«. 


With many illustrations from photographs. 

8vo. Cloth. $2.50 

"The whole work presents a complete and graphic picture of colo- 
nial chil.lhood, that cannot but form a valuable supplementary study 
for students of American history. At the same time it has much gen- 
Sal nterest, for child life of anv perio.l is interesting, but the interest 
Ts douWeT^vhen it concerns the formative influences of Amencan 
ancestry." — iVtfrc York Times. 

"From the scant records of colonial days Mrs Earle t^^s been 
enabled to make up a volume that is full of life -'-";-:;;' i^Jlj:' J^!; 
gives an insight into the beauty and tenderness of fam Iv he ev n 
under the austere conditions of the seventeenth and eighteenth ccn- 
"udes. The portraits of chiUlren form a gallery as rare as it is beauti- 
ful." _ \e-iU York Herald. 

thp: macmillan company 




With many illustrations from photographs. 

8vo. Cloth. $2.50 

"Not the least valuable items in her book are the pictures with 
which it is lavishly provided, — admirable reproductions, most of 
them, of old taverns, tavern signs and bills, stage coaches, and a num- 
ber of Copies of the paintings of Mr. Henry, who has made the stage- 
coach days of the United States a special study." 

— Xew York Trilntne. 

" Mrs. Earle is no mere compiler. Her books represent original 
research, combined with a happy faculty of knowing what to tell and 
what to omit. They are not only authentic, they are interesting, full 
of human nature, and touched througliout with a delightful sense of 
humor." — Chiuigo TrilnDic. 


A Book of the Sweet o' the Year. With many illustrations 
from photographs. 8vo. Cloth. $2.00, net 

" Every page is laden with things interesting, attractive, and curi- 
ously and effectively instructive. Mrs. Earle's knowledge of American 
local traditionary lore, as we have long since learned, is matchless." 

— Booklovers' Bulletin, Philadelphia. 

" A treatise which will lie welcomed by all lovers of gardens and 
of literature ... for the scholarly fragrance distilled by every chapter 
of a volume that may ba worthily enshrined among the classics of gar- 
dening literature." -^George H. Ellwanger in the Book Buyer. 


played in verj 
Profusely ill 
8vo. Cloth. $2.00, net 

Garden delights which are here displayed in very truth and 
are moreover regarded as emblems. Profusely illustrated. 



University of British Columbia Library 




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